Prophylaxis and treatment of dermatologic adverse events from epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors

Peggy A. Wu, Yevgeniy Balagula, Mario E. Lacouture, Milan J. Anadkat

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: As the number and uses for targeted therapies such as epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors (EGFRIs) increase, so does the need to recognize and treat the dermatologic side-effects of these agents. Although agents such as gefitinib, erlotinib, cetuximab, lapatinib, and panitumumab have less systemic side-effects than traditional cytotoxic chemotherapy, dermatologic adverse events from EGFRIs are significantly more common. These dermatologic toxicities have previously led to reduction or cessation of therapy and recently have been shown to decrease patients' quality of life. Recent Findings: This review provides a symptom-based treatment approach to the common dermatologic adverse effects seen with the epidermal growth factor receptor antagonists: papulopustular rash, xerosis, pruritus as well as hair, nail, and mucosal changes. Each dermatologic toxicity is described; prophylaxis and treatment options, from topical to systemic, are presented based on a review of the current literature with emphasis on new clinical trials results. We also provide specific recommendations based on our practice in a specialty clinic. Summary: Although the field continues to evolve, this review presents the most up-to-date information on managing dermatologic adverse effects of EGFRIs. Practitioners should find this article to be a practical resource in approaching patients on EGFRIs with dermatologic toxicities. As we learn how to optimally manage the adverse effects of these agents, we practitioners have the opportunity to increase patients' quality of life and decrease reductions or cessations of life-prolonging therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-351
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Opinion in Oncology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2011


  • dermatologic toxicities
  • epidermal growth factor inhibitors
  • management
  • targeted therapy


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