Ocular toxicity of targeted therapies

J Clin Oncol. 2012 Sep 10;30(26):3277-86. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2011.41.5851. Epub 2012 May 29.


Molecularly targeted agents are commonly used in oncology practice, and many new targeted agents are currently being tested in clinical trials. Although these agents are thought to be more specific and less toxic then traditional cytotoxic chemotherapy, they are associated with a variety of toxicities, including ocular toxicity. Many of the molecules targeted by anticancer agents are also expressed in ocular tissues. We reviewed the literature for described ocular toxicities associated with both approved and investigational molecularly targeted agents. Ocular toxicity has been described with numerous approved targeted agents and also seems to be associated with several classes of agents currently being tested in early-phase clinical trials. We discuss the proposed pathogenesis, monitoring guidelines, and management recommendations. It is important for oncologists to be aware of the potential for ocular toxicity, with prompt recognition of symptoms that require referral to an ophthalmologist. Ongoing collaboration between oncologists and ocular disease specialists is critical as the use of molecularly targeted agents continues to expand and novel targeted drug combinations are developed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Drugs, Investigational / adverse effects
  • Eye Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy / adverse effects*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Drugs, Investigational