, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 83-99
Date: 16 Aug 2012

Targeting the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor in Solid Tumor Malignancies

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Abstract

The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is over-expressed, as well as mutated, in many types of cancers. In particular, the EGFR variant type III mutant (EGFRvIII) has attracted much attention as it is frequently and exclusively found on many tumor cells, and hence both EGFR and EGFRvIII have been proposed as valid targets in many cancer therapy settings. Different strategies have been developed in order to either inhibit EGFR/EGFRvIII activity or to ablate EGFR/EGFRvIII-positive tumor cells. Drugs that inhibit these receptors include monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that bind to the extracellular part of EGFR, blocking the binding sites for the EGFR ligands, and intracellular tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) that block the ATP binding site of the tyrosine kinase domain. Besides an EGFRvIII-targeted vaccine, conjugated anti-EGFR mAbs have been used in different settings to deliver lethal agents to the EGFR/EGFRvIII-positive cells; among these are radio-labelled mAbs and immunotoxins. This article reviews the current status and efficacy of EGFR/EGFRvIII-targeted therapies.