Gefitinib is an anti-cancer prescription drug. It is used in the treatment of lung cancer and breast cancer. This medicine is a type of cancer therapy. It belongs to the category of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (***** that block certain enzymes to stop cell growth). In medical terms, tyrosine kinases are the enzymes that help cancer cells to grow and multiply. Gefitinib is majorly prescribed to treat EGFR-positive lung cancer and breast cancer.
What is EGFR in cancer of the lung and breast?
EGFR is an abbreviation for epidermal growth factor receptor. It is a protein that binds to a protein called the “epidermal growth factor receptor”. This is present in the cell membrane of the lung cancer cells and helps them in multiplying. Moreover, it does so by increasing their rate of cell division. EGFR is overexpressed (more harmful) in lung and breast cancer cells. Such a mutation is diagnosed using conventional tissue biopsy along with a blood test. Further, lung or breast cancer that is EGFR-positive can be treated using an EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor like Gefitinib. This drug blocks the action of epidermal growth factor receptors and causes cell death (apoptosis).
Gefitinib is prescribed for the treatment of patients with non-small cell lung cancer. This drug is specifically recommended to those lung cancer patients who have EGFR gene mutations (as detected by an FDA-approved test). It works well as a first-line treatment in controlling advanced-stage cancer (the stage of cancer in which the tumor has spread to nearby organs or bones).
Since Gefitinib is a well-tolerated EGFR inhibitor, it is used in the treatment of patients diagnosed with breast cancer that has spread to the nearby lymph nodes, tissues, or bones. It may be prescribed as a monotherapy (single **********) or in combination with weekly docetaxel for better response. However, studies are being conducted to demonstrate the efficacy of this drug more clearly.
Gefitinib is an oral **********. It is sold as tablets for oral administration with a fixed strength of 250mg. This drug is marketed under different brand names including Iressa by AstraZeneca, Geftinat by Natco Pharma, and Gefticip by Cipla Ltd. Its recommended dosage is 250 mg once daily (orally) either with or without food until unacceptable toxicity and/or disease progression.
Note- Do not take Gefitinib tablets without a valid prescription by your health professional. Also, don’t change the dose strength on your own.