Afatinib is a targeted cancer therapy approved by the FDA in 2013 for the treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer with EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) mutations. Advanced, or metastatic, cancer is where the cancer has spread to other organs in the patient’s body. Afatinib is developed by Boehringer Ingelheim. The trade name is Gilotrif.

This cancer drug works to block tumor cell growth by blocking the growth of several proteins within the cell. These proteins are likely to help contribute the cancer growth when tumors contain the EGFR gene mutation. This treatment seeks to block these proteins which will hopefully contribute to the cancer shrinking.

How Afatinib Works

Non-small cell lung cancer is the most common type of lung cancer, as nearly 85% of lung cancers are classified as non-small cell lung cancers. Squamous cell carcinoma, large cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma are all considered sub types of non-small cell lung cancer. Roughly 15% of lung cancer patients who have non-small cell lung cancer will have EGFR mutations.

Possible Afatinib Treatment Side Effects
More common side Effects of Gilotrif may include diarrhea, skin rashes, mouth sores, dry skin and decreased appetite. More serious side effects may include breathing problems, or complications to the liver (symptoms may include yellowing of patient’s skin or pain in the upper right side of the stomach area), eyes (such as blurred vision or sensitivity to light) and heart (symptoms may include swelling of the ankles or legs, weight gain or persistent coughing) With any side effect, please alert your doctor of any side effect that causes discomfort or does not go awary.

More Lung Cancer Information
Learn more about lung cancer types, symptoms and treatments.

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