Epidermal growth factor receptor inhibition in metastatic anal cancer

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Metastatic squamous cell carcinoma (SCCA) anal cancer is relatively rare. With limited data, cisplatin plus 5-fluorouracil has traditionally been utilized in the first-line setting. Treatment beyond front-line cisplatin progression is not well defined. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is highly overexpressed in SCCA anal cancer and EGFR inhibition may represent a potential treatment target for this population in need. Our case series evaluated metastatic SCCA anal cancer patients who received an EGFR monoclonal antibody as second-line or third-line therapy. Data collected consisted of demographics, previous treatment, metastatic disease sites, localized therapy received, regimen received, first radiographic result, progression-free survival, and overall survival. A total of 17 patients were included, with most (76%) patients receiving an EGFR monoclonal antibody in the second-line setting. Common regimens identified combined cetuximab or panitumumab with a fluoropyrimidine plus platinum (35%), carboplatin plus paclitaxel (29%), or cisplatin plus vinorelbine (18%). Thirty-five percent of patients achieved a response and 24% had stable disease. The overall median progression-free survival and overall survival were 7.3 and 24.7 months, respectively. Compared with our large retrospective study in the front-line metastatic anal cancer setting, our study suggests that anti-EGFR therapy in combination with certain chemotherapy derived additional benefit in the refractory setting. In the metastatic setting, there is a need to discover effective therapies. We present a diverse metastatic SCCA anal cancer patient population who received cetuximab or panitumumab with chemotherapy in the second-line or third-line setting. Our case series strengthens the concept of EGFR inhibition in metastatic SCCA anal cancer.

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