Squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) continues to be a source of significant morbidity and mortality. Agents that target the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), including monoclonal antibodies and small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors, have demonstrated activity in this disease. The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the monoclonal antibody cetuximab in conjunction with radiation for locally advanced disease, and as a single agent for recurrent/ metastatic disease. In addition, recent data have shown a survival benefit for patients with recurrent/metastatic disease who are treated with platinum, fluorouracil, and cetuximab. These promising results have prompted further study of EGFR inhibitors with radiation and cytotoxic chemotherapy to further increase the benefit of treatment for SCCHN.
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