Indexed on: 01 Mar '07Published on: 01 Mar '07Published in: Expert opinion on drug discovery
The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is a cell membrane receptor that plays a key role in cancer development and in the progression of many human malignancies, including non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). EGFR-dependent signaling is involved in cancer cell proliferation, apoptosis, angiogenesis, invasion and metastasis. Targeting the EGFR is a valuable molecular approach in cancer therapy. This receptor is overexpressed in up to 80% of NSCLC cases. Thus, several molecules inhibiting this critical biologic pathway have been synthesized and tested as a single agent or in combination with other anticancer modalities in a wide of clinical trials, including reversible and irreversible small tyrosine kinase inhibitors, such as gefitinib and erlotinib, dual vascular endothelial growth factor receptor EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors, such as vandetanib (ZD-6474), and monoclonal antibodies, such as cetuximab, which have shown promising activity in patients with NSCLC. This review focuses on the preclinical and clinical results available with EGFR inhibitors in the treatment of NSCLC patients.