Efficacy of prophylactic minocycline treatment for skin toxicities induced by erlotinib plus gemcitabine in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer: a retrospective study

Am J Clin Dermatol. 2015 Jun;16(3):221-9. doi: 10.1007/s40257-015-0116-x.


Background: Erlotinib has been reported as being associated with a high incidence of skin toxicities such as acneiform rash, paronychia, and xerosis.

Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of prophylactic minocycline treatment for the skin toxicities induced by erlotinib as compared with deferred minocycline treatment in patients with pancreatic cancer treated with erlotinib plus gemcitabine.

Methods: A total of 96 patients were studied retrospectively, of whom 44 received prophylactic minocycline between August 2012 and June 2013 and 52 received deferred minocycline treatment between August 2011 and July 2012 at the National Cancer Center Hospital East, Kashiwa, Japan. In the prophylactic minocycline group, 200 mg/day oral minocycline was prophylactically administered during the treatment period.

Results: The incidence rate of acneiform rash and xerosis of any grade during the first 6 weeks of treatment was significantly reduced in the prophylactic minocycline group compared with the deferred minocycline treatment group (47.7 vs. 80.8%, p<0.001; 2.3 vs. 19.2%, p=0.01). Multivariate analysis identified prophylactic minocycline as a significant independent factor associated with the incidence of acneiform rash and xerosis of any severity (odds ratio [OR] 0.16, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.06-0.46, p<0.001; OR 0.11, 95% CI 0.01-0.90, p=0.04).

Conclusion: Prophylactic minocycline appears to be useful for the management of erlotinib-related acneiform rash and xerosis during chemotherapy in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Acneiform Eruptions / chemically induced
  • Acneiform Eruptions / prevention & control*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Deoxycytidine / administration & dosage
  • Deoxycytidine / adverse effects
  • Deoxycytidine / analogs & derivatives
  • Dermatologic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Drug Eruptions / prevention & control
  • Erlotinib Hydrochloride / administration & dosage
  • Erlotinib Hydrochloride / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minocycline / administration & dosage*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Deoxycytidine
  • gemcitabine
  • Erlotinib Hydrochloride
  • Minocycline