Brand name: Tykerb
Chemical name: Lapatinib
How it works: HER2 inhibitors work against HER2-positive breast cancers by blocking the ability of the cancer cells to receive chemical signals that tell the cells to grow.
Uses: Tykerb typically is used:
- in combination with Xeloda to treat advanced-stage, HER2-positive breast cancer that has stopped responding to anthracyclines, taxanes, and Herceptin
- in combination with Femara to treat hormone-receptor-positive, HER2-positive, metastatic breast cancer in postmenopausal women
Doctors can choose to use Tykerb to treat other stages of breast cancer whether or not that particular use is officially approved by the FDA.
How it's given: Tykerb is taken orally as a pill.
Additional information: Herceptin and Perjeta block the HER2 protein on the surface of breast cancer cells. Perjeta targets a different area on the HER2 receptor than Herceptin does, so it’s believed to work in a way that is complementary to Herceptin. Tykerb blocks the HER2 protein inside the cell. It's because of this different mechanism that Tykerb may be effective against HER-positive cancers that have stopped responding to Herceptin.
- neuropathy (tingling in the hands and feet)
- loss of appetite
- mouth or throat sores
- liver problems
Read more about Tykerb.