A review of the treatment options for skin rash induced by EGFR-targeted therapies: Evidence from randomized clinical trials and a meta-analysis
Background: Agents targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) are amongst the most extensively used of the targeted agents in the therapy of some of the most common solid tumors. Although they avoid many of the classic side effects associated with cytotoxic chemotherapy, they are associated with unpleasant cutaneous toxicities which can affect treatment compliance and impinge on patient quality of life. To date, despite a plethora of consensus recommendations, expert opinions and reviews, there is a paucity of evidence-based guidance for the management of the skin rash that occurs in the treatment of patients receiving EGFR-targeted therapies.
Methods: A literature search was conducted as a first step towards investigating not only an evidence-based approach to the management of skin rash, but also with a view to designing future randomized trials.
Results: The literature search identified seven randomized trials and a meta-analysis was conducted using the data from four of these trials involving oral antibiotics. The meta-analysis of the data from these four trials suggests that prophylactic antibiotics might reduce the relative risk of severe rash associated with EGFR-targeted agents by 42–77%. Vitamin K cream was also identified as having a potential role in the management EGFR-targeted agent induced rash.
Conclusion: This review and meta-analysis clearly identify the need for further randomized studies of the role of oral antibiotics in this setting. The results of the ongoing randomized trials of the topical application of vitamin K cream plus or minus doxycycline and employing prophylactic versus reactive strategies are eagerly awaited.