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Expert Rev Anticancer Ther. 2003 Jun;3(3):367-80.

Targeting epidermal growth factor receptor: novel therapeutics in the management of cancer.

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Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Shadyside, PA 15232, USA.


Overexpression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in epithelial tumors, including head and neck, lung, breast, colon and other solid tumors, has frequently been correlated with poor prognosis, thus stimulating efforts to develop new cancer therapies that target EGFR. Monoclonal antibodies and tyrosine kinase inhibitors specifically targeting EGFR are the most well-studied and hold substantial promise of success. Several compounds of monoclonal antibodies and tyrosine kinase inhibitors targeting EGFR have been studied and clinical trials are now underway to test the safety and efficacy of these targeting strategies in several human tumors. This review will address each of these agents alone or in combination with radiation or chemotherapy and highlight some of these promising developments. Cetuximab (Erbitux) is being evaluated in combination with radiation or chemotherapy in Phase III trials. Other compounds such as h-R3, ABX-EGF, EMD-55900 and ICR-62 have proved to be effective in targeting malignant cells alone or in combination with traditional therapies. Tyrosine kinase inhibitors targeting the intracellular domain of EGFR, including ZD-1839 (gefitinib, Iressa), OSI-774 (Erlotinib/Tarceva), PD-153053, PD-168393 and CI-1033, have been studied in clinical setting alone or in combination with radiation or chemotherapy. ZD-1839 is being studied in a Phase III trial in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer. EGFR targeted treatment by monoclonal antibodies and tyrosine kinase inhibitors have been proven to sensitize tumor cells to the effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The synergistic activities and nonoverlapping toxicities of these compounds allow concomitant administration with cytotoxic therapy. Challenges of evaluating EGFR targeted agents exist in selecting the optimal dosages and determining long-term toxicity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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