EGF receptor variant III as a target antigen for tumor immunotherapy

Expert Rev Vaccines. 2008 Sep;7(7):977-85. doi: 10.1586/14760584.7.7.977.


The EGF receptor (EGFR) is the first tyrosine kinase receptor ever cloned and remains at the forefront of targeted therapies against cancer. Currently, there are four US FDA-approved drugs and several more in Phase III studies that target the EGFR. These drugs, while resulting in some dramatic remissions, have not resulted in strong nor consistent improvements in survival. EGFR variant III (EGFRvIII) is the most common variant of the EGFR and is present in many different cancer types but not in normal tissue. It results from the fusion of exon 1 to exon 8 of the EGFR gene, which results in a novel glycine at the junction. This mutant receptor is constitutively active in these tumors and can lead directly to cancer phenotypes due to its oncogenic properties. EGFRvIII is an attractive target antigen for cancer immunotherapy because it is not expressed in normal tissue and because cells producing EGFRvIII have an enhanced capacity for dysregulated growth, survival, invasion and angiogenesis. In this review, we will discuss preclinical and clinical data from studies using EGFRvIII as the target antigen for immunotherapy, with a focus on the potential for greatly improved survival for patients diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • ErbB Receptors / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • ErbB Receptors / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • United States


  • epidermal growth factor receptor VIII
  • ErbB Receptors