Optimizing anti-EGFR strategies in cancer treatment

Luca Toschi, Giovanna Finocchiaro, Isabella Garassino, Fabio De Vincenzo, Elisabetta Campagnoli, Giovanni Luca Ceresoli, Raffaele Cavina, Paolo Andrea Zucali, Armando Santoro, Federico Cappuzzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Molecules interfering with the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) have been successfully tested in several human malignancies in the last decade, including non-small cell lung cancer, colo-rectal, pancreatic and head and neck cancer. Particularly, the two most commonly used strategies for blocking EGFR include tyrosine-kinase inhibitors (TKIs) targeting the intracellular domain of the receptor and monoclonal antibodies (MAb) directed against its external portion. One of main goals of researchers is to identify biological predictors of activity or resistance to these agents, both for ethical and pharmacoeconomical reasons. EGFR protein expression assessed by immunohistochemistry does not seem to accurately predict activity of either class of compounds, while presence of EGFR sensitizing mutations, which can be found in significant fractions of NSCLC patients, has been associated with a better outcome in patients receiving EGFR TKIs. Increased EGFR gene copy number could represent a reliable and reproducible tool for proper selection of patients candidate to TKIs or anti-EGFR MAbs. Furthermore, mechanisms of resistance to anti-EGFR strategies are currently being elucidated, allowing identification of subjects who should be excluded from treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-275
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Cancer Therapy Reviews
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007


  • Cetuximab
  • Colorectal cancer
  • EGFR
  • Erlotinib
  • Gefitinib
  • Non-small cell lung cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Oncology

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