What is the role of cetuximab in the treatment of colon cancer?

Updated: Apr 15, 2020
  • Author: Tomislav Dragovich, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: N Joseph Espat, MD, MS, FACS  more...
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Answer

Cetuximab is a chimeric monoclonal antibody against EGFR that is approved for treatment of KRAS mutation–negative (wild-type), EGFR-expressing, metastatic colorectal cancer. Cetuximab may be used as monotherapy or in combination with irinotecan (Camptosar) in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer refractory to fluoropyrimidine and oxaliplatin therapy. [108] Additionally, cetuximab is approved as combination therapy with FOLFIRI (irinotecan, 5-fluorouracil, leucovorin). [109, 110]

KRAS mutations, which are present in about 40% of colon adenocarcinomas, affect sensitivity to anti-EGFR treatment. [68] The addition of anti-EGFR antibody treatment to standard chemotherapy regimens for patients with advanced colorectal cancer improves progression-free survival for those with wild-type KRAS status, but not those with mutant KRAS. [111]


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