Targeted therapy is a promising strategy for the treatment of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma and other cancers, which has been developed as a result of breakthroughs in molecular characterisation of carcinogenesis. It is thought to offer a higher therapeutic index and, therefore, to be associated with less toxicity than cytotoxic drugs. Unfortunately this kind of therapy also has weaknesses; in particular the long-term response rate is disappointing. This review will not only focus on the benefits of EGFR targeted agents in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, but will also summarise its weaknesses.

(BELG J MED ONCOL 2015;9(5):175–78)