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Mol Cancer Res. 2009 Jul;7(7):1000-12. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-08-0479. Epub 2009 Jul 7.

Therapeutic inhibition of the epidermal growth factor receptor in high-grade gliomas: where do we stand?

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Neurochirurgische Klinik und Poliklinik, Heidelberg, Germany.


High-grade gliomas account for the majority of intra-axial brain tumors. Despite abundant therapeutic efforts, clinical outcome is still poor. Thus, new therapeutic approaches are intensely being investigated. Overexpression of the epidermal growth factor receptor (HER1/EGFR) is found in various epithelial tumors and represents one of the most common molecular abnormalities seen in high-grade gliomas. Dysregulated HER1/EGFR is found in 40% to 50% of glioblastoma, the most malignant subtype of glioma. Several agents such as tyrosine kinase (TK) inhibitors, antibodies, radio-immuno conjugates, ligand-toxin conjugates, or RNA-based agents have been developed to target HER1/EGFR or its mutant form, EGFRvIII. To date, most agents are in various stages of clinical development. Clinical data are sparse but most advanced for TK inhibitors. Although data from experimental studies seem promising, proof of a significant clinical benefit is still missing. Among the problems that have to be further addressed is the prediction of the individual patient's response to HER1/EGFR-targeted therapeutics based on molecular determinants. It is quite possible that blocking HER1/EGFR alone will not sufficiently translate into a clinical benefit. Therefore, a multiple target approach concomitantly aimed at different molecular sites might be a favorable concept. This review focuses on current HER1/EGFR-targeted therapeutics and their development for high-grade gliomas.

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