Clinical Oncology and Cancer Research

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 207–214

Efficacy and immune mechanisms of cetuximab for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer

Authors

  • Hao Zhuang
    • Research Center of Basic Medical SciencesTianjin Medical University
  • Zhen-yi Xue
    • Research Center of Basic Medical SciencesTianjin Medical University
  • Lu Wang
    • Research Center of Basic Medical SciencesTianjin Medical University
  • Xiao-yan Li
    • Research Center of Basic Medical SciencesTianjin Medical University
  • Ning Zhang
    • Research Center of Basic Medical SciencesTianjin Medical University
    • Research Center of Basic Medical SciencesTianjin Medical University
    • Department of ImmunologyTianjin Medical University
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11805-011-0582-8

Cite this article as:
Zhuang, H., Xue, Z., Wang, L. et al. Clin. Oncol. Cancer Res. (2011) 8: 207. doi:10.1007/s11805-011-0582-8
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Abstract

Cetuximab is a chimeric immunoglobulin G1 monoclonal antibody that targets the ligand-binding domain of the epidermal growth factor receptor and inhibits downstream intracellular signals. Research has shown that cetuximab can stimulate the autoimmune system and produce antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity and complement-dependent cytotoxicity reactions, which can recruit cytotoxic lymphocytes to attack and kill cancer cells. Cetuximab is mainly indicated for patients with epidermal growth factor receptor-positive metastatic colorectal cancer who fail to respond to both irinotecan- and oxaliplatin-based regimens. The efficacy and safety of cetuximab as monotherapy or in combination with other treatment options were evaluated in a series of phase II and phase III trials. Identifying the clinical and molecular markers that can predict which patient groups may best benefit from cetuximab treatment is key to improving patient outcomes and avoiding unnecessary toxicities and costs. Herein, we discuss the mechanisms of action by which cetuximab exerts its antitumor effects, as well as the possible clinical and molecular markers that may help predict therapeutic benefits for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.

Key Words

colorectal cancercetuximabepidermal growth factor receptorimmune mechanismsprognostic marker

Abbreviations

EGFR

epidermal growth factor receptor

CDC

complement-dependent cytotoxicity

mCRC

metastatic colorectal cancer

mAb

monoclonal antibody

ADCC

antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity

TA

tumor antigen

EGF

epidermal growth factor

NK

natural killer (cells)

DC

dendritic cells

CTL

cytotoxic lymphocyte

BSC

best supportive care

OS

overall survival

PFS

progression-free survival

RR

response rate

APC

antigenpresenting cell

HLA

human leukocyte antigen

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© Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute and Hospital and Springer Berlin Heidelberg 2011