New publication in Science Translational Medicine: Hair eruption initiates and skin microbiota aggravate side effects of targeted cancer therapy


Modern, targeted and efficient cancer therapies based on inhibition of the EGF receptor come at the expense of massive acne-like skin inflammations, severe side effects that often result in drug dose reduction or even end of cancer therapy. Buck Hanson, Craig Herbold and Alexander Loy were part of an interdisciplinary team led by Thomas Bauer and Maria Sibilia from the Medical University of Vienna which now discovered that EGFR inhibition-mediated loss of skin barrier integrity permits microorganisms to invade the skin and trigger inflammation similar to that which occurs in atopic dermatitis. Hair eruption allows initial invasion of commensal microbiota into the hair follicle followed by an outgrowth of the pathobiont Staphylococcus aureus. A potential treatment option targeting a pathway that protects the skin without restoring EGFR activity was also identified.