Is there is any evidence of therapeutic efficacy in treatments that target epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling in pancreatic cancer?

FAQ Library published on July 6, 2016
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Philip A. Philip, MD, PhD, FRCP
Professor of Oncology and Internal Medicine
Dr. Kathryn Cramer Endowed Chair in Cancer Research
Leader, GI & Neuroendocrine Multidisciplinary Team
Vice President for Medical Affairs
Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute
Wayne State University School of Medicine
Detroit, Michigan
Is there is any evidence of therapeutic efficacy in treatments that target epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling in pancreatic cancer?
Welcome to Partners in Pancreatic Cancer. My name is Philip Philip. I am a professor in oncology and I specialize in the treatment of gastrointestinal malignancies. I am often asked if there is any evidence of therapeutic efficacy in treatments that target epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling in pancreatic cancer. In my experience, there is no really strong evidence to support or continue using the EGFR-targeting drugs. The drug that was tested in the phase 3 setting, erlotinib, when combined with gemcitabine showed a very marginal benefit with added toxicities. Overall, there was no clinically meaningful improvement in survival. For that reason, despite the fact that it was a positive trial, this combination is not generally used anymore. I also have personal experience with these treatments, because I led a clinical trial using cetuximab in locally advanced disease in a phase 3 trial which was led by SWOG. In that trial, we did not show any significant benefit with the combination of cetuximab with gemcitabine. For these reasons, the use of EGFR-blocking agents is no longer recommended, either in combination with chemotherapy or alone in subsequent lines of treatment.
Last modified: March 10, 2016
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