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cetuximab (seh-TUK-sih-mab)A drug used to treat certain types of head and neck cancer, and a certain type of colorectal cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Cetuximab binds to a protein called epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), which is on the surface of some types of cancer cells. This may stop cancer cells from growing. Cetuximab is a type of monoclonal antibody. Also called Erbitux.

Information about Cetuximab

Cetuximab is a chimeric mouse-human monoclonal antibody to the human epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor which is used in the treatment of metastatic colon and head and neck cancers. 

Liver safety of Cetuximab

Cetuximab has been linked to mild and transient serum enzyme elevations during therapy, but has not been implicated in cases of clinically apparent acute liver injury

Mechanism of action of Cetuximab

Cetuximab (se tux’ i mab) is a chimeric mouse-human monoclonal IgG1 kappa antibody to the human epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor which is present on many normal cell types and is overexpressed in several forms of cancer.  Cetuximab has been shown to prolong survival in patients with EGF receptor expressing and wild type KRAS expressing colorectal cancer.  Cetuximab has also been shown to be effective in patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. 

FDA approval information for Cetuximab

Cetuximab was approved for use the United States in 2004 and current indications include metastatic colorectal and head and neck cancer usually in combination with other antineoplastic agents or radiation therapy.  Cetuximab is available in liquid solution of 100 and 200 mg in single dose vials (2 mg/mL) under the brand name Erbitux.  The recommended regimen is 400 mg/m2 by intravenous infusion initially and 250 mg/m2 weekly thereafter. 

Side effects of Cetuximab

Common side effects include infusion reactions (premedication with antihistamines is recommended), chills, fever, acne, skin rash, fatigue, headache and diarrhea.  Less common but potentially serious side effects include severe cutaneous reactions, infections, acute renal failure, pulmonary embolus and cardiopulmonary arrest.


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