Erlotinib hydrochloride (trade name Tarceva, Genentech/OSIP, originally coded as OSI-774) is a drug used to treat non-small cell lung cancer, pancreatic cancer and several other types of cancer.
Similar to gefitinib, erlotinib specifically targets the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase. It binds in a reversible fashion to the adenosine triphosphate (ATP) binding site of the receptor. Erlotinib has recently been shown to be a potent inhibitor of JAK2V617F activity. JAK2V617F is a mutant of tyrosine kinase JAK2, is found in most patients with polycythemia vera (PV) and a substantial proportion of patients with idiopathic myelofibrosis or essential thrombocythemia. The study suggests that erlotinib may be used for treatment of JAK2V617F-positive PV and other myeloproliferative disorders.
For the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer after failure of at least one prior chemotherapy regimen. Also for use, in combination with gemcitabine, as the first-line treatment of patients with locally advanced, unresectable or metastatic pancreatic cancer.
Mechanism of action
The mechanism of clinical antitumor action of erlotinib is not fully characterized. Erlotinib inhibits the intracellular phosphorylation of tyrosine kinase associated with the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Specificity of inhibition with regard to other tyrosine kinase receptors has not been fully characterized. EGFR is expressed on the cell surface of normal cells and cancer cells.