Research ArticleSKIN DISORDERS

Hair eruption initiates and commensal skin microbiota aggravate adverse events of anti-EGFR therapy

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Science Translational Medicine  11 Dec 2019:
Vol. 11, Issue 522, eaax2693
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aax2693

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The skinny on a cancer drug side effect

Therapeutics targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) are used for many cancer types, but they have notable side effects, including a potentially severe and disfiguring skin rash. Klufa et al. discovered that the inhibition of EGFR interferes with the ability of skin stem cells to reestablish a secure barrier after it is broken in the process of hair eruption. This loss of skin barrier integrity permits microorganisms to invade the skin and trigger inflammation similar to that which occurs in atopic dermatitis. The authors also identified a pathway that could be targeted to protect the skin without restoring EGFR activity directly.

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