Esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) is one of the fastest growing malignancies in the US. The long-term survival of patients with this cancer remains poor; only 25% of patients undergoing surgical excision are alive after 5 years. Multimodal programs that incorporate radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery for localized tumors may result in a modest survival advantage. However, significant strides in this disease can result from the inclusion of targeted therapies. The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) family represents one such target and is receiving increasing attention due to the advent of specific inhibitors. Studies conducted by us and others have shown that the overexpression of EGFR family signaling intermediates is common in Barrett's esophagus and EAC. In the latter case, EGFR expression may have prognostic significance. EGFR inhibitors, including oral tyrosine kinase inhibitors and monoclonal antibodies, result in a synergistic antitumor effect with chemotherapeutic agents or with radiotherapy. Therefore, several ongoing studies include EGFR-directed therapy either alone or in combination with chemoradiotherapy for this disease. Our study of gefitinib, oxaliplatin and radiotherapy suggested that gefitinib can be safely incorporated into an oxaliplatin-based chemoradiation program for esophageal cancer, although the clinical activity of this combination is modest. Herein, we review the current literature on this subject.
- Barrett's esophagus
- Epidermal growth factor receptor
- Esophageal neoplasms
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research