Erbitux (cetuximab)

Erbitux (cetuximab) is an intravenously-administered drug used in the treatment of some head and neck cancers and some colorectal cancers. It is a targeted therapy, meaning it works quite differently than traditional chemotherapy.

Drug profile

  • Class: Monoclonal antibody enzyme inhibitor. Also called an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) antagonist.
  • Mechanism of action: This drug binds to the EGFR on normal and cancerous cells, which results in the inhibition of certain cell-signaling pathways and induces cell death.
  • Treatment type: Biological therapy
  • US approval: 2004
  • Synonyms: C225
  • FDA Use-in-Pregnancy Rating: Category C

What it's used for and why

Erbitux is FDA-approved for the treatment of some squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck, either as a single agent or in combination with radiotherapy. It is also approved as a single agent or in combination with irinotecan for the treatment of some colorectal cancers.

Side effects: Overview

Among the many potential side effects from Erbitux, the following represent either more frequently reported side effects or those considered clinically significant: allergic infusion reaction (sometimes fatal), cardiopulmonary arrest, interstitial lung disease, asthenia, fever, acneform rash, constipation, diarrhea, nausea/vomiting, hypomagnesaemia, headaches, and stomach aches.


Significant studies relating to Erbitux


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