New agents and treatment strategies that can be safely and effectively integrated into current treatment paradigms for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) are urgently needed. To date, the anti-EGF receptor (EGFR) monoclonal antibody, cetuximab, is the first and only molecularly targeted therapy to demonstrate a survival benefit for patients with recurrent or metastatic disease. Other anti-EGFR-targeted therapies, including monoclonal antibodies (e.g., panitumumab and zalutumumab) and reversible and irreversible ErbB family tyrosine kinase inhibitors (e.g., lapatinib, afatinib and dacomitinib) are being actively investigated in Phase II and Phase III clinical trials. In addition, validated biomarkers are needed to predict clinical benefit and resistance to anti-EGFR therapy in HNSCC. This review will compare and contrast the mechanisms of action of anti-EGFR monoclonal antibodies and tyrosine kinase inhibitors and also discuss their role in the management of HNSCC and the potential impact of human papillomavirus status in the development of these targeted agents.
- epidermal growth factor receptor
- head and neck squamous cell carcinoma
- HER tyrosine kinase receptor family
- therapeutic monoclonal antibody
- tyrosine kinase inhibitor
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)