What is Tarceva, and can Tarceva cure lung cancer? In today’s article, we will talk about that in this article, and a lot more.
What Is Tarceva?
So, first thing’s first, what is Tarceva? Well, it is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor that treats specific types of non-small cell lung cancer or NSCLC. Tarceva has won approval by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (the FDA).
Can It Treat Lung Cancer?
Yes, it can treat NSCLC that has already spread to the nearby tissues and to the other parts of the body. Usually, Tarceva is used for those cancer patients who have already tried at least one chemotherapy agent but it was unsuccessful.
It often works for those patients whose cancer cells have alterations in specific receptors found on the surface. These receptors are known as epidermal growth factor receptors or EGFRs. The alternations in the receptors is usually the reason why cells grow and multiply out of control.
Tarceva works by blocking the activation of the receptor. It inhibits its tyrosine kinase activity which starts the molecular signal that can then trigger the proliferation of cancer cells. However, it still allows for the bond between ECFRs and the ligands to occur.
Can Tarceva Cure Lung Cancer?
At the end of the day, Tarceva helps improve the disease-free survival in the EGFR-mutant during the early stages of non-small cell lung cancer. It helps improve or increase the survival for those cancer patients who are in the early stages of I-III non-small cell lung cancer. It appears better than chemotherapy.
Promising Research Results for Tarceva
In clinical trials, Tarceva’s efficacy was compared to other conventional treatments such as chemotherapy. According to the results, test subjects who took Tarceva actually had lower risks of cancer progression and death. Their risks were reduced by 66 percent compared to those patients who received chemotherapy.
What’s even more astounding is that those patients who received Tarceva showed an improved median overall survival time. Their survival time was improved to 22.9 months compared to 19.5 months for those who received conventional chemo.
But, it should also be noted that researchers say the difference was not enough to make a conclusion whether or not the median overall survival time was better with the drug Tarceva than chemo.
Another astounding discovery was that the tumors have shrunk and/or disappeared for around 65% of patients who used Tarceva. It shrunk and/or disappeared for 16% of cancer patients who received chemotherapy.
Is Tarceva Safe To Use?
So, is Tarceva safe to use? Well, it has approval from the FDA has approved it, and determined that this drug was safe and effective. However, it is only safe and effective for those patients with metastatic NSCLC tumors. Or for those with EGFR-activating mutations.
If your doctor prescribes Tarceva, you usually will take the tablet orally once a day on an empty stomach. This means you should take it at least one hour before eating, or two hours after having a meal or a snack.
Side effects of Tarceva include weakness, cough, loss of appetite, diarrhea, rashes, and shortness of breath. The side effects may increase if you take Tarceva with food.
This article is part of our series on Lung Cancer Treatments, Signs, Causes and Prevention.
Please check out the next topic in this series: Do Takis give you lung cancer?