Antibodies directed against receptor tyrosine kinases: Current and future strategies to fight cancer

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Approximately 30 therapeutic monoclonal antibodies have already been approved for cancers and inflammatory diseases, and monoclonal antibodies continue to be one of the fastest growing classes of therapeutic molecules. Because aberrant signaling by receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) is a commonly observed factor in cancer, most of the subclasses of RTKs are being extensively studied as potential targets for treating malignancies. The first two RTKs that have been targeted by antibody therapy, with five currently marketed antibodies, are the growth factor receptors EGFR and HER2. However, due to systemic side effects, refractory patients and the development of drug resistance, these treatments are being challenged by emerging therapeutics. This review examines current monoclonal antibody therapies against RTKs. After an analysis of agents that have already been approved, we present an analysis of antibodies in clinical development that target RTKs. Finally, we highlight promising RTKs that are emerging as new oncological targets for antibody-based therapy.

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