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07.10.2016 | Review Article | Ausgabe 2/2017 Open Access

Supportive Care in Cancer 2/2017

Dermatologic events from EGFR inhibitors: the issue of the missing patient voice

Supportive Care in Cancer > Ausgabe 2/2017
Bernd Tischer, Renate Huber, Matthias Kraemer, Mario E. Lacouture
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s00520-016-3419-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



As epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors are associated with a variety of dermatologic adverse events (dAEs), the purpose of this study was to develop an overview of current knowledge of dAEs associated with EGFR inhibitors and to identify knowledge gaps regarding incidence, treatment, impact on quality of life (QOL), and patient acceptance.


A structured literature search was conducted using MEDLINE/PubMed (January 1983 to January 2014). In total, 71 publications published from 2004 to 2014 were identified for consideration in the final evidence review.


The majority of published articles concentrate on the incidence of skin reactions, duration, treatment, and prevention strategies. Different grading systems based on the symptoms of skin rash or on health-related QOL (HRQOL) are used. An additional topic is the possible correlation between acneiform rash and efficacy of EGFR inhibitors. Knowledge gaps identified in the literature were how dAEs impact QOL compared with other AEs from a patient’s perspective, patients’ acceptance of dAEs (willingness to tolerate), and the impact of physician-patient communication on treatment decisions.


Research is needed on the impact of dAEs on patients’ acceptance of cancer treatments. Systematic studies are missing that compare the impact of dAEs with other toxicities on therapy decisions from both physician’s and patient’s view, and that investigate the balance between efficacy and avoidance of acneiform rash in treatment decisions. Such studies could provide deeper insights into the acceptance of the risk of untoward dermatologic events by both physicians and patients when treating advanced cancers.

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