The role of inhibitors of the epidermal growth factor in management of head and neck cancer

Bruce Brockstein, Mario Lacouture, Mark Agulnik

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is overexpressed in most head and neck cancers and correlates with poor prognosis. In the past few years, numerous clinical trials for head and neck cancer have tested monoclonal antibodies against EGFRs and small molecule inhibitors of EGFR tyrosine kinase. Results led to FDA approval of cetuximab with concomitant radiotherapy for treating locally or regionally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN), and as a single agent in patients with recurrent or metastatic SCCHN for whom prior platinum-based therapy failed. This article reviews the biology of EGFR as it pertains to head and neck cancer, including the important clinical trials of EGFR monoclonal antibodies and tyrosine kinase inhibitors in SCCHN, alone and with concomitant radiotherapy. Molecular and clinical markers of response and outcome are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)696-706
Number of pages11
JournalJNCCN Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008


  • Cetuximab
  • Chemotherapy
  • EGFR inhibitors
  • Erlotinib
  • Gefitinib
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Radiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

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