J Korean Assoc Maxillofac Plast Reconstr Surg.  2009 Jan;31(1):8-17.

Targeted Molecular Therapy in a Murine Model of Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma with an Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Inhibitor

  • 1Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, College of Dentistry, Kangnung National University, Korea. ywpark@kangnung.ac.kr


PURPOSE: We determined the therapeutic effect of an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-specific monoclonal antibody (mAb), cetuximab (Erbitux) on the growth of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) xenografted in athymic nude mice. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: We induced subcutaneous tumors by inoculating human tumor cell suspension into the right flank of nude mice. Nude mice with subcutaneous tumors were randomized to receive cetuximab alone, paclitaxel alone, cetuximab plus paclitaxel, or a placebo (control). Antitumor mechanisms of cetuximab were determined by immunohistochemical and apoptosis assays.
Cetuximab, paclitaxel, and cetuximab/paclitaxel combined therapy resulted in 50%, 52%, 67% in vivo inhibition of tumor proliferation, respectively. Tumors of mice treated with cetuximab plus paclitaxel demonstrated decreased PCNA-positive tumor cells and increased apoptotic tumor cells, which slowed growth of the murine tumors.
These data show that EGFR can be a molecular target for the treatment of OSCC. And combination therapy with cetuximab and paclitaxel warrants further clinical study.


Oral squamous cell carcinoma; Epidermal growth factor receptor; Cetuximab; Molecular target
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