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What Is Erlotinib Used For?

Using Erlotinib for Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer begins in the tissue of the pancreas. The pancreas is a gland that lies behind the stomach. It produces digestive juices that help the body break down food, as well as hormones that help the body maintain proper blood glucose levels (blood sugar levels).
Erlotinib is approved for the treatment of pancreatic cancer that has advanced, spread to other areas of the body (metastasized), or cannot be removed with surgery. It is intended as initial treatment in combination with another medication known as gemcitabine (Gemzar®).

How Does It Work?

As mentioned, erlotinib is in a class of medicines called tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Kinases are proteins in the body that help regulate cell growth, among other things. Erlotinib works by blocking the action of a specific tyrosine kinase known as epidermal growth factor receptor 1 (EGFR).
EGFR tells cancer cells to grow and divide. Therefore, by blocking the action of EGFR, erlotinib can slow down or stop the growth of cancer cells.

Can Children Use Erlotinib?

Erlotinib is not approved for use in children (usually considered people younger than 18 years old), as it has not been adequately studied in this group. Talk to your child's healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using erlotinib in children.

Can Older Adults Use It?

Yes, erlotinib can be used in older adults. In clinical studies, the drug was as effective and safe in older adults as it was in younger age groups. However, because of general changes that occur in the body as people age, and because older adults are more likely to have other medical conditions, some older adults may be more sensitive to the effects of this medication.
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Erlotinib Medication Information

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