Assessing the role of the EGF receptor in the development and progression of pancreatic cancer
Natalie Cook,1 Kristopher K Frese,2 Malcolm Moore1
1Division of Medical Oncology and Hematology, 2Ontario Cancer Institute, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada
Abstract: The prognosis for patients with pancreatic cancer remains poor despite increased knowledge of its molecular genetics and histopathological progression. Pancreatic cancer is a complicated, heterogeneous tumor with several common genetic alterations. Aberrant epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expression can be found in chronic pancreatitis and in preinvasive and invasive pancreatic cancer. Therefore targeting this receptor, through monoclonal antibodies or downstream inhibition of tyrosine kinase activity, has the potential to produce encouraging results. Despite this, the majority of targeted therapies against EGFR have not performed as expected in clinical trials of pancreatic cancer. Understanding mechanisms of resistance and identification of pertinent biomarkers of efficacy will likely lead to further optimization of EGFR-directed treatment. In this article, we discuss the role of EGFR in the development and progression of pancreatic cancer, mechanisms of action of EGFR-directed agents, and the future of epidermal growth factor targeted-therapy and research in pancreatic cancer.
Keywords: epidermal growth factor receptor, therapies, resistance
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