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Cetuximab: Its Use in Combination with Radiation Therapy and Chemotherapy in the Multimodality Treatment of Head and Neck Cancer

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Dimerization of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) on the cell membrane of tumor cells has been implicated in triggering a complex signal cascade that leads to increased tumor proliferation and survival. Cetuximab is a human-murine chimeric monoclonal antibody designed to target EGFR and competitively inhibit dimerization by circulating ligands. By this mechanism, it works to prevent this signal cascade thus hindering tumor proliferation. Cetuximab has been shown in a randomized phase III clinical trial to significantly increase overall survival when it is added to radiation therapy in the treatment of locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. In this manuscript, the mechanism of cetuximab with its associated patents is reviewed, with its role with chemotherapy and radiation in the management of head and neck cancer along with future directions of this targeted cancer therapy.

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Keywords: Cetuximab; concurrent chemotherapy and radiation; epidermal growth factor receptor; radiation therapy; squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck; targeted therapy

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-06-01

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  • Recent Patents on Anti-Cancer Drug Discovery publishes review articles on recent patents in the field of anti-cancer drug discovery e.g. novel bioactive compounds, analogs & targets. A selection of important and recent patents on anti-cancer drug discovery is also included in the journal. The journal is essential reading for all researchers involved in anti-cancer drug design and discovery.
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