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Cetuximab (By injection)

Treats cancer, including head, neck, and colorectal cancer.

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

Cetuximab injection is used together with radiation treatment for advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN), or with a platinum-based cancer medicine with fluorouracil to treat SCCHN that has come back (recurrent) or has spread to other parts of the body (metastatic). Cetuximab injection is also used alone in patients with recurrent or metastatic SCCHN who have received other… Read more
Brand names include
Erbitux
Drug classes About this
Antineoplastic Agent

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Cetuximab: a new treatment for advanced non‐small cell lung cancer

Lung cancer is the most common cancer in the world. Advanced non‐small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for about 60% of all lung cancer cases. Since the effectiveness of current standard treatment for advanced NSCLC (i.e. chemotherapy) has reached a ceiling, there is a continuous need for new, more effective treatments to further improve the outcome of patients with the disease. This review of 2018 patients, from four trials, found that adding cetuximab (a newly developed agent) to standard treatment, prolonged the survival time of advanced NSCLC patients by about 1.5 months, and deferred the progression of cancer by about 0.5 month. One year after the treatment, 45% of the patients receiving standard treatment plus cetuximab, and 40% of the patients receiving standard treatment alone were still alive. However, the effects of cetuximab on quality of life of patients were uncertain. Seven types of adverse events, mainly involving skin and blood, occurred much more in the patients receiving cetuximab, while other adverse events seemed to occur equally in both groups. The adverse events were reported as generally manageable. No deaths related to cetuximab were reported. In summary, high quality evidence shows that the use of cetuximab combined with standard treatment leads to better survival than standard treatment alone, in improving survival of patients with advanced NSCLC.

Summary of Published Health Economic Studies of Cetuximab as Third Line Treatment for Patients with Metastatic Colorectal Cancer [Internet]

We have summarised published Norwegian and international studies of the cost-effectiveness of cetuximab in combination with irinotecan as third line treatment for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. The present alternative to such treatment is supportive care. The estimated number of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer eligible for treatment with cetuximab + irinotecan as third line therapy is 70.

Cetuximab for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer: a meta-analysis

Bibliographic details: Gao GH, Zhou XL, Huang RF, Jiang JW, Chu ZH, Liang XH.  Cetuximab for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer: a meta-analysis. Tumor 2009; 29(3): 253-258

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Summaries for consumers

Cetuximab: a new treatment for advanced non‐small cell lung cancer

Lung cancer is the most common cancer in the world. Advanced non‐small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for about 60% of all lung cancer cases. Since the effectiveness of current standard treatment for advanced NSCLC (i.e. chemotherapy) has reached a ceiling, there is a continuous need for new, more effective treatments to further improve the outcome of patients with the disease. This review of 2018 patients, from four trials, found that adding cetuximab (a newly developed agent) to standard treatment, prolonged the survival time of advanced NSCLC patients by about 1.5 months, and deferred the progression of cancer by about 0.5 month. One year after the treatment, 45% of the patients receiving standard treatment plus cetuximab, and 40% of the patients receiving standard treatment alone were still alive. However, the effects of cetuximab on quality of life of patients were uncertain. Seven types of adverse events, mainly involving skin and blood, occurred much more in the patients receiving cetuximab, while other adverse events seemed to occur equally in both groups. The adverse events were reported as generally manageable. No deaths related to cetuximab were reported. In summary, high quality evidence shows that the use of cetuximab combined with standard treatment leads to better survival than standard treatment alone, in improving survival of patients with advanced NSCLC.

First‐line treatment of advanced non‐small cell lung cancer identified as being EGFR mutation positive

Lung cancer is the most common cancer in the world. As it shows few symptoms, it has often spread by the time it is diagnosed. Consequently surgery is usually not possible, and drug treatment, typically chemotherapy, is required.

Treatments for cancers of the mouth and throat: therapies targeted at cancer cells and therapies to boost the body’s immune system

Oral cancers (cancer of the mouth and cancer of the throat) are the sixth most common cancer worldwide, accounting for an estimated 4% of all cancers. There is a higher frequency of these cancers in men. Smoking, alcohol consumption and betel quid chewing are the main risk factors. Cancer of the throat is associated with infection from the human papilloma virus (HPV), which can be transmitted through sexual contact. Low socioeconomic status (a measure of a person's income, education and occupation in relation to other people's) is associated with a higher frequency of oral cancers and poorer survival rates. Survival following a diagnosis of mouth or throat cancer remains poor, with around 50% of people still alive at five years (five‐year survival rate).

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