Targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) has proven to be of clinical benefit in the management of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). While the use of small-molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors in this setting has not shown any significant activity and has been associated with increased gastrointestinal toxicity when combined with chemotherapy, a different picture has emerged with the use of EGFR-targeting monoclonal antibodies.
Radiation therapy (RT) is an important treatment modality for multiple thoracic malignancies. Incidental irradiation of the lungs, which are particularly susceptible to injury, is unavoidable and often dose-limiting. The most radiosensitive subunit of the lung is the alveolar/capillary complex, and RT-induced lung injury is often described as diffuse alveolar damage. Reactive oxygen species generated by RT are directly toxic to parenchymal cells and initiate a cascade of molecular events that alter the cytokine milieu of the microenvironment, creating a self-sustaining cycle of inflammation and chronic oxidative stress. Replacement of normal lung parenchyma by fibrosis is the culminating event. Depending on the dose and volume of lung irradiated, acute radiation pneumonitis may develop, characterized by dry cough and dyspnea. Fibrosis of the lung, which can also cause dyspnea, is the late complication. Imaging studies and pulmonary function tests can be used to quantify the extent of lung injury. While strict dose-volume constraints to minimize the risk of injury are difficult to impose, substantial data support some general guidelines. New modalities such as intensity-modulated radiation therapy and stereotactic body radiation therapy provide new treatment options but also pose new challenges in safely delivering thoracic RT.
Angiogenesis is a critical requirement for malignant growth, invasion, and metastases. Agents interfering with angiogenesis have shown efficacy in the treatment of a number of solid tumors, such as metastatic colorectal cancer, non–small-cell lung cancer, and renal cell cancer, and are being studied in many more. Each of the three agents currently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration—bevacizumab (Avastin), sunitinib (Sutent), and sorafenib (Nexavar)—offer challenges to nurses, in terms of assessment and management of toxicity, and to their patients as well: learning and integrating self-care strategies, such as self-assessment and self-administration (for sorafenib and sunitinib). This article reviews the recommended dosing, drug interactions, potential side effects, and management strategies for these three agents. Other agents that have antiangiogenesis properties, such as the epidermal growth factor inhibitors, the mTOR inhibitors, bortezomib, and thalidomide will not be addressed.
The patient is a 39-year-old Caucasian male who presented with a right renal mass and painless gross hematuria. He underwent a right laparoscopic radical nephrectomy and the final pathology revealed a carcinoid tumor.
The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the American Society of Hematology (ASH) have released an updated joint guideline on the use of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs), a class of drugs that stimulate the bone marrow to produce more red blood cells, to treat chemotherapy-related anemia.
The increased approval of anticancer agents has led to unprecedented results, with improved quality of life and longer survival times, resulting in millions of individuals living with a diagnosis of cancer. Whereas these novel medical, surgical, and radiation regimens, or combinations thereof, are largely responsible for these remarkable achievements, a new, unexpected constellation of side effects has emerged. Most notably, cutaneous toxicities have gained considerable attention, due to their high frequency and visibility, the relative effectiveness of anti–skin toxicity interventions, and the otherwise decreasing incidence of systemic or hematopoietic adverse events. Optimal care dictates that dermatologic toxicities must be addressed in a timely and effective fashion, in order to minimize associated physical and psychosocial discomfort, and to ensure consistent antineoplastic therapy. Notwithstanding the critical importance of treatment-related toxicities, dermatologic conditions may also precede, coincide, or follow the diagnosis of cancer. This review provides a basis for the understanding of dermatologic events in the oncology setting, in order to promote attentive care to cutaneous health in cancer patients and survivors.
Management of dermatologic toxicities from epidermal growth-factor receptor inhibitors (EGFRIs) is best tailored to the type of skin lesions present, extent of body surface involvement, and anatomic location affected. Although few randomized trials have been undertaken to address treatment of skin, hair, or nail side effects to this class of drugs, some basic principles of therapy based on experience of referral centers can help mitigate these toxicities and ensure consistent EGFRI administration and maintenance of patient quality of life. Patient education as to the expected EGFRI side effects and early physician intervention when these side effects appear can improve outcomes. Two dermatologists who treat high numbers of patients affected by these EGFRI-induced cutaneous side effects submit their recommendations for management.