Several agents that target one or more members of the erbB family of receptor tyrosine kinases are currently undergoing clinical investigation. The monoclonal antibody trastuzumab has been shown effective in erbB2-expressing metastatic breast cancer when administered as a single agent or in combination with cytotoxic chemotherapy. Toxicities associated with trastuzumab include infusion-related fever and chills, hypersensitivity reactions, and congestive heart failure. C225 is a monoclonal antibody directed against the epidermal growth factor receptor, which has shown encouraging antitumor activity in early clinical development. The orally active tyrosine kinase inhibitors show encouraging antitumor activity in preclinical models and early clinical trials. Members of this class currently in clinical development include ZD1839, OSI-774, and CI-1033. Evidence to date suggests that the major role for erbB receptor-targeting drugs will be in combined therapy to enhance response to cytotoxic drugs, and in long-term monotherapy to maintain response and prevent disease progression or recurrence.
Copyright 2001 by W.B. Saunders Company.