Advanced colorectal cancer, as well as squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, can be treated with cetuximab. Although this medication cannot cure cancer, it may increase survival and shrink tumor size. It is given by infusion into a vein over a period of one to two hours. Side effects can include injection site reactions, nausea, and diarrhea.
What Is Cetuximab?Cetuximab (Erbitux®) is a prescription medication approved for the treatment of certain types of cancer. Specifically, the medication is used to treat certain people who have:
- Squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck
- Advanced colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon and rectum) that expresses a protein called epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR).
Cetuximab can be used alone or in combination with other treatments.
(Click What Is Cetuximab Used For? for more information on this topic, including possible off-label uses.)
Side Effects of CetuximabJust like any medicine, cetuximab can cause side effects. Although not everyone who receives the drug will experience problems, most people will experience some type of adverse reaction during treatment.
If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or are treated easily by you or your healthcare provider. Serious reactions are less common.
Some of the common side effects seen with cetuximab include:
(Click Cetuximab Side Effects to learn more, including potentially serious side effects you should report immediately to your healthcare provider.)