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Case report
Bilateral acute anterior uveitis: a rare ocular side effect of erlotinib
  1. Sarah Chan1,
  2. Elizabeth Ahern2,3,
  3. Sarah Chaudhry1 and
  4. Brett Hughes2,3
  1. 1 Ophthalmology, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Herston, Queensland, Australia
  2. 2 Medical Oncology, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Herston, Queensland, Australia
  3. 3 School of Medicine, University of Queensland, Herston, Queensland, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sarah Chan; nahcharas{at}


Erlotinib used in the treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is a first-generation small-molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor which reversibly inhibits the kinase domain of epithelial growth factor receptor (EGFR). The incidence of ocular toxicities as adverse effects (AE) of erlotinib is relatively common. However, post-marketing, acute anterior uveitis (AAU) has been reported in a small number of cases as a putative AE resulting from erlotinib therapy. We present a case of a 67-year-old, Caucasian woman, lifelong non-smoker with stage IV NSCLC who presents with decreased visual acuity and ‘floaters’ 6 weeks after commencing erlotinib. She was later diagnosed with erlotinib-associated bilateral AAU. This is the fifth documented case of erlotinib-associated bilateral AAU since 2010, highlighting the rarity of this AE. Thus, the possibility of AAU should always be considered in patients on EGFR-blocking therapies as significant ocular damage can occur if ophthalmic complaints are not triaged and assessed quickly.

  • ophthalmology
  • oncology
  • lung cancer (oncology)
  • anterior chamber
  • unwanted effects / adverse reactions

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  • Contributors SChan had substantial contribution to the conception of the work, acquisition, analysis and interpretation of data. EA and BH contributed substantially in acquisition, analysis, interpretation of data and revision of the work. SChaudhry contributed initially to the acquisition and revision of work. There is final approval of the version published from all authors with agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.