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Cetuximab belongs to a group of drugs
known as monoclonal antibodies. It blocks a protein called epidermal growth
factor that helps cancer cells grow and multiply. Cetuximab is an
intravenous (IV) drug.
Monoclonal antibodies such as cetuximab may not work for some people.
So before you have this treatment, your tumor tissue will be checked for
certain gene changes (mutations), such as the wild-type KRAS mutation.
Cetuximab is used alone or in
combination with other chemotherapy drugs to treat
metastatic or recurrent colorectal cancer.
Cetuximab helps some other
chemotherapy drugs work better than they do alone. For example, when used with
irinotecan, cetuximab slows tumor growth in approximately 23% of people who
have metastatic or recurrent colorectal cancer.1
Cetuximab can cause serious side effects,
usually during the first treatment. Side effects may include:
Cetuximab may cause more serious side effects, such as
loss of consciousness,
shock, cardiac arrest, and not being able to breathe.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that people who take this medicine
should be watched closely while they are getting this medicine and for 1 hour
The FDA also warns that some people may get a severe
rash and/or infections when they take this medicine.
Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in
Cetuximab should be administered
only under the supervision of a
Cetuximab may cause
birth defects. Do not use this medicine if you are pregnant or wish to become
pregnant or father a child while you are taking it.
been approved for use only in adults. There is no specific information
comparing use of cetuximab in children with its use in other age groups.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
Venook A (2005). Critical evaluation of current
treatments of metastatic colorectal cancer. Oncologist,
September 5, 2012
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Kenneth Bark, MD - Surgery, Colon and Rectal
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