Dong M. Shin, MD | Authors

Targeting the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor

February 01, 2006

The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) promotes the growth of different cell types and has been implicated in tumorigenesis. The EGFR comprises a family of four structurally similar tyrosine kinases with a complex link to downstream signaling molecules that ultimately regulate key cell processes. Anti-EGFR agents have been developed as promising therapeutic anticancer targets, and some have been recently approved for the treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer and colon cancer. The two anti-EGFR therapies with the greatest clinical application are monoclonal antibodies that block the binding of ligands to EGFR and small-molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors that inhibit the binding of adenosine triphosphate to the internal tyrosine kinase receptor of EGFR. We attempt to give an overview of the EGFR function and biology, focusing on the most important clinical findings and applications of EGFR inhibitors in lung and head and neck cancer.

Head and Neck Cancer

April 01, 2005

Head and neck cancers are a diverse group of diseases, each with its own distinct epidemiologic, anatomic, and pathologic features, natural history, and treatment considerations. Despite improvements in diagnosis and local management, long-term survival rates for patients with this disease have not increased significantly over the past 30 years and are among the lowest for the major cancers.