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Acneiform eruption secondary to epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors

Mario E Lacouture, MD
Yevgeniy Balagula, MD
Section Editor
Maja Mockenhaupt, MD, PhD
Deputy Editor
Rosamaria Corona, MD, DSc


Agents targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-mediated signalling pathway are increasingly used for the treatment of advanced lung, pancreatic, colorectal, and head and neck cancers [1,2]. They include monoclonal antibodies (eg, cetuximab, panitumumab) and small-molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors (eg, gefitinib, erlotinib, lapatinib) [3]. The ability of EGFR inhibitors to block specific molecular pathways driving uncontrolled cellular division in cancer has resulted in a decreased incidence of serious systemic adverse events commonly associated with conventional cytotoxic chemotherapy [4]. However, cutaneous adverse events to EGFR inhibitors are frequent, due to the abundant expression of EGFR in the skin and adnexal structures [5]. Cutaneous adverse reactions to EGFR inhibitors include:

Acneiform (papulopustular) rash

Abnormal scalp, facial hair, and/or eyelash growth

Paronychia with or without pyogenic granulomas



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Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: Dec 7, 2015.
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