Monoclonal antibodies against vascular endothelial growth factor and epidermal growth factor receptor in advanced colorectal cancers: present and future directions

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Targeted therapies are emerging as potentially important therapeutic interventions in the treatment of advanced colorectal cancer. There have been considerable developments in this field within the past few years, with some agents entering the clinic and others soon to follow. Monoclonal antibodies against important tumorigenic targets have been in development for over a decade. Recently, cetuximab and bevacizumab have generated significant interest and are the focus of this review.

Recent findings

Cetuximab, a monoclonal antibody against the epidermal growth factor receptor, and bevacizumab, a monoclonal antibody against vascular endothelial growth factor, have now been subject to rigorous assessment within several clinical studies, including a large randomized phase II study of cetuximab and a randomized phase III study of bevacizumab. The demonstration of efficacy and safety with these agents has led to the issue of licenses for cetuximab in Switzerland and bevacizumab in the United States.

Summary

These results have led to a rapid expansion of further studies to define the role of these antibodies and to aid their future integration with conventional approaches for the management of advanced colorectal cancer.

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