RESEARCH SUPPORT, N.I.H., INTRAMURAL
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Markers in the epidermal growth factor receptor pathway and skin toxicity during erlotinib treatment.

BACKGROUND: Skin toxicity is a common adverse effect of erlotinib and other anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) agents. The aim of the study was to explore the relationship between markers in the EGFR pathway and skin rash.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Eighteen patients with metastatic breast cancer were treated with daily oral erlotinib at 150 mg. Skin biopsies were obtained at baseline and after 1 month of treatment in 15 patients. EGFR, phosphorylated EGFR (pEGFR), phosphorylated mitogen-activated protein kinase (pMAPK), and phosphorylated Akt (pAkt) or Ki67 were examined quantitatively by immunohistochemistry.

RESULTS: 11 of 18 (61%, 95% confidence interval 35.7% to 82.7%) patients developed skin rash. pAkt at baseline was significantly higher in patients with no rash than those with a grade 1 or 2 rash (18.8 +/- 8.3 versus 2.4 +/- 1.2 versus 3.3 +/- 3.3; P = 0.0017 for trend). There was a trend towards a significant increase of pMAPK in skin posttreatment with increasing grade of rash (no rash versus grade 1 versus grade 2 rash: 4.5 +/- 2.3 versus 8.4 +/- 4.2 versus 19.4 +/- 4.6; P = 0.036). Other markers were not associated with rash.

CONCLUSIONS: pAkt was significantly associated with not developing a rash and may have a predictive utility for skin toxicity in patients treated with erlotinib and possibly with other anti-EGFR agents.

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