, Volume 92, Issue 7, pp 709-722,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 10 May 2014

Primary and acquired resistance to EGFR-targeted therapies in colorectal cancer: impact on future treatment strategies

Abstract

Only approximately 10 % of genetically unselected patients with chemorefractory metastatic colorectal cancer experience tumor regression when treated with the anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) antibodies cetuximab or panitumumab (“primary” or “de novo” resistance). Moreover, nearly all patients whose tumors initially respond inevitably become refractory (“secondary” or “acquired” resistance). An ever-increasing number of predictors of both primary and acquired resistance to anti-EGFR antibodies have been described, and it is now evident that most of the underlying mechanisms significantly overlap. By trying to extrapolate a unifying perspective out of many idiosyncratic details, here, we discuss the molecular underpinnings of therapeutic resistance, summarize research efforts aimed to improve patient selection, and present alternative therapeutic strategies that are now under development to increase response and combat relapse.