Table of Contents
Chemotherapy Research and Practice
Volume 2012, Article ID 387172, 11 pages
Review Article

Novel Drugs Targeting the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor and Its Downstream Pathways in the Treatment of Colorectal Cancer: A Systematic Review

1Department of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center, 111 210th Street, Bronx, NY 10467, USA
2Department of Medical Oncology, Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1825 Eastchester Road, Bronx, NY 10461, USA

Received 18 May 2012; Accepted 11 August 2012

Academic Editor: Basil El-Rayes

Copyright © 2012 Amartej Merla and Sanjay Goel. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Colorectal cancer is the second most common malignancy among men and women in the United States, and the 5-year survival rate remains poor despite recent advances in chemotherapy and targeted agents. The mainstay of therapy for advanced disease remains the cytotoxic chemotherapy including 5-FU, irinotecan, and oxaliplatin. The USFDA approval and introduction of targeted therapies, including cetuximab and panitumumab (monoclonal antibodies targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)) and bevacizumab (monoclonal antibody targeting the vascular epithelial growth factor (VEGF)), has improved the median survival of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer to around 24 months. Clearly, better and more efficacious drugs are needed, and target-specific agents remain the future of cancer treatment. On this front, rapid advances are being made, which are likely to change the future of the management of metastatic colorectal cancer. However, absence of specific biomarkers for the use of targeted agents, in the subset of population who will benefit from the treatment, remains a major drawback. In this paper, we review agents that are in phases 1 and 2 clinical development, specifically targeting the EGFR and its subsequent downstream pathways.