Mechanisms of cutaneous toxicities to EGFR inhibitors

Nat Rev Cancer. 2006 Oct;6(10):803-12. doi: 10.1038/nrc1970.


The increased target specificity of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors (EGFRIs) is associated with the reduction or abolition of nonspecific and haematopoietic side effects. However, coincident inhibition of receptor activity in tissues that depend on EGFR signalling for normal function has undesirable consequences. Because of the key role of EGFR signalling in skin, dermatological toxicities have frequently been described with EGFRIs. The resultant significant physical and psycho-social discomfort might lead to interruption or dose modification of anticancer agents. There is an urgent need for an improved understanding of these toxicities to develop adequate staging systems and mechanistically driven therapies, and to ensure quality of life and consistent antineoplastic therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / adverse effects*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • ErbB Receptors / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • ErbB Receptors / immunology
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Skin Diseases / chemically induced*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • ErbB Receptors