The immune system’s contribution to the clinical efficacy of EGFR antagonist treatment

Felicity MacDonald, Dietmar Zaiss

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) antagonists were one of the first anti-cancer
treatments developed targeting a Receptor Tyrosine Kinase. However, the underlying mode of action of how EGFR antagonist application can explain its clinical efficacy in different types of cancers remains largely unresolved. Numerous findings have suggested that a substantial portion of the effects attributed to EGFR antagonist treatment might not be based on direct influence on the tumour itself. Instead it may be based on indirect effects, potentially mediated via the immune system. In this review the role of the EGFR for the functioning of the immune system is discussed, alongside how EGFR antagonist treatment could be impacting tumour growth by blocking macrophage and FoxP3-expressing regulatory CD4+ T cell function. Based on these findings, we consider implications for current treatment schemes and suggest novel approaches to improve the efficacy of EGFR antagonist treatment in the future. Finally, we propose potential ways to improve EGFR antagonists, in order to enhance their clinical efficacy whilst diminishing unwanted side effects.
Original languageEnglish
Article number575
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalFrontiers in pharmacology
Early online date24 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2017

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • egfr antagonists
  • regulatory t cells
  • immunotherapy of cancer
  • immune responses
  • efficacy


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