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Keywords:

  • cancer;
  • EGFR inhibitor;
  • ipilimumab;
  • pruritus;
  • vemurafenib

Abstract

In the past decade, the expanded use of targeted anticancer drugs has significantly prolonged survival in patients treated for a variety of cancers. Despite their increased specificity, agents such as epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors (EGFRIs), BRAF inhibitors, and targeted immunotherapies have commonly been associated with a number of dermatologic adverse events, often necessitating treatment modifications and negatively impacting patients' quality of life. Although toxicities such as rash and xerosis are frequently discussed, symptomatic pruritus, or itch, has emerged as an important, and frequently neglected, event. The present study reviews the incidence and clinical presentation of pruritus with the EFGRIs, and with two novel anti-melanoma drugs, vemurafenib and ipilimumab, with a focus on the putative underlying pathophysiology, and current management strategies.