Author | Giuseppe Giaccone, MD, PhD


EGFR Inhibitors in Lung Cancer

November 01, 2005

Targeted therapies inhibiting the epidermal growth factor receptor(EGFR) have been introduced in the treatment of patients with advancednon–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Many inhibitors of theEGFR have been developed, targeting either the extracellular receptordomain with antibodies or the intracellular tyrosine kinase bindingdomain with small molecules. The tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI)gefitinib (Iressa) was the first targeted drug to be registered for thetreatment of NSCLC after failure of chemotherapy. Given concurrentlytogether with platinum combination chemotherapy both TKIs gefitiniband erlotinib (Tarceva) failed to increase activity. Sequential targetedtherapy after chemotherapy is currently being investigated further. Studieswith the monoclonal antibody cetuximab (Erbitux) combined withchemotherapy are ongoing. Side effects of the small molecules aremainly skin rash and diarrhea, whereas the antibodies do not give diarrhea.Selection of patients, based on molecular markers and patientcharacteristics, has become an important issue for the further developmentof these drugs, given there is activity in a relatively small group ofpatients with NSCLC. Newer drugs inhibiting more than one receptorpathway are being investigated in order to find activity in a broadergroup of patients.

Commentary (Giaccone/Barlesi): Perspectives on Salvage Therapy for Non–Small-Cell Lung Cancer

July 01, 2005

Cappuzzo and colleagues havereviewed the present optionsof salvage therapy for advancednon–small-cell lung cancer(NSCLC). This issue is highly relevantnowadays, as many patients whofail palliative chemotherapy are stillin sufficiently good condition to receiveadditional therapy. It is ratherinstructive to note that 10 years agothe use of systemic chemotherapy foradvanced NSCLC was advocated butstill not standard, and today we haveseveral options for treating patients inthe second- and even third-line setting.Among these options are agents thatspecifically target molecular featuresof lung cancer, such as the epidermalgrowth factor receptor (EGFR)

Advances in the Management of Lung Cancer

July 01, 2000

In October 1999, 40 leading experts from Europe, the United States, and the Far East met in St. Julians, Malta, to discuss recent progress in the management of lung cancer. Emphasis was placed on novel treatment strategies for non–small-cell