Vol 6-1 Original Research Article

Topical Application of Aprepitant Inhibits Erlotinib-induced Facial Dermatitis/Hair Loss

Iu Tong Mak*, Jay H. Kramer*, Joanna J. Chmielinska*, William B. Weglicki

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, The George Washington University, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ross Hall, Rm 228, 2300 Eye Street, NW. Washington DC 20037; USA

Erlotinib, an EGFR-TKI, has been used as an effective anti-tumorigenesis agent against several cancers including lung, colon, head and neck. However, it has been reported to cause significant and severe cutaneous side effects. Our previous studies implicated substance P, a neuropeptide, as a significant mediator of skin toxicity. Our present study was designed to determine if the topical application of aprepitant, a specific substance P receptor blocker, would be protective against these skin side effects. Erlotinib in the diet was administered to the rats for 12 weeks. Facial rash and hair loss began to occur after 6 weeks and were most severe at 12 weeks when animals were sacrificed. Topical treatment of aprepitant to the facial area 3 times a week showed dose-dependent and progressive inhibition up to 70% of the induced dermatitis/hair loss. These results were comparable to the effects produced by oral doses in our prior study. At sacrifice, we also found significant elevations of neutrophil superoxide, that were inhibited by topical aprepitant, along with elevated plasma 8-isoprostane levels, that were also suppressed. Facial skin samples revealed increased leukocyte (CD11b positive) infiltration in the erlotinib-treated rats, which were substantially reduced by the topical aprepitant. In conclusion, the indicators of reactive oxidative species (ROS) suggest that neurogenic inflammation played a critical role in causing EGFR-TKI-induced toxicity; it also confirmed that the systemic inhibition of ROS production due to blockade of substance P action was significantly protective against the dermatitis/hair loss pathology.

DOI: 10.29245/2767-5092/2024/1.1174 View / Download Pdf