Toxicity of targeted therapy in non-small-cell lung cancer management

Serena Ricciardi, Silverio Tomao, Filippo De Marinis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. Despite several chemotherapeutic agents, a survival plateau has been reached, so new treatment strategies are clearly needed. A strong interest is now focused on the use of targeted therapies for the management of non-small-cell lung cancer. Monoclonal antibodies against the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR; cetuximab) or vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR; bevacizumab) and EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (gefitinib, erlotinib) are generally well tolerated and do not have the severe systemic side effects usually seen with cytotoxic drugs. A considerable number of treated patients develop dermatologic side effects, such as acneiform eruption, xerosis, and eczema, and unfortunately, this is often one cause of negative impact on a patient's quality of life. No controlled clinical trials have been performed to manage rash, so it is necessary to provide suggestions for managing this frequent side effect. The main problems related to the class of angiogenesis inhibitors affecting VEGFRs are the exclusion of patients with brain metastases and/or squamous histology, and vascular adverse effects, such as hypertension, proteinuria, thrombosis, and hemorrhage. There are other new agents in clinical development, such as sorafenib, sunitinib, vorinostat, vandetanib, everolimus, panobinostat, and ASA404. They are all associated with a spectrum of toxicities, often reversible with interruption of dosing. Further research is required to clarify the role of targeted therapies and toxicities management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-35
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Lung Cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2009


  • Dermatologic toxicity
  • Monoclonal antibodies
  • Tyrosine kinase inhibitors
  • Vascular adverse events

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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