Erbitux® (There may be other brand names for this medication)
How is Cetuximab Administered?
Your medicine will be given intravenously (IV), which means it will be given through a tube placed in a vein, usually in your arm, wrist, hand or chest.
What is it Used For?
This drug is used to treat certain types of head and neck cancers and a certain type of colon cancer.
How Does it Work?
Cetuximab is not a traditional chemotherapy medication; it is in a class of medications called monoclonal antibodies, a type of targeted therapy.
Traditional chemotherapy drugs identify cancer cells by their rapid rate of reproduction, and then attack those cells. Unfortunately, there are many cells in our bodies that normally reproduce rapidly and these cells are also affected by traditional chemotherapy drugs, resulting in many side unpleasant effects.
Cetuximab is designed to work differently. Instead of attacking rapidly reproducing cells, it attaches to a protein (EGFR - Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor) on the surface of the cancer cells, blocks Epidermal Growth Factor (ERF) and interferes with the cells’ ability to grow and reproduce. (Note: There are some normal cells that have EGFR on their surface and these cells would also be affected.)