Tykerb uses are primarily concerned with the treatment of breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. The medication is used in combination with letrozole or capecitabine. Tykerb is not approved for use in children, and there are currently no universally accepted off-label uses.
Tykerb® (lapatinib) is a prescription medication used to treat breast cancer. It belongs to a group of medications known as tyrosine kinase inhibitors.
Specifically, Tykerb is approved to be used in combination with capecitabine (Xeloda®) to treat HER2-positive cancer that has spread to other parts of the body in people who have unsuccessfully tried other chemotherapy medications. It is also approved to be used in combination with letrozole (Femara®) for the treatment of postmenopausal women with metastatic, hormone receptor-positive breast cancer that overexpresses the HER2 receptor.
Women in the United States get breast cancer more than any other type of cancer, except for skin cancer. Each year, more than 211,000 American women learn that they have breast cancer. Most breast cancer causes are not known. In 5 to 10 percent of these cases, there is a hereditary component. Common breast cancer symptoms include:
- A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm area
- A change in how the breast or nipple feels
- Nipple tenderness
- A change in how the breast or nipple looks
- A change in the size or shape of the breast
- A nipple turned inward into the breast
- Nipple discharge (fluid).
In general, breast cancer treatment options can include:
- Surgery (see Breast Cancer Surgery)
- Radiation therapy (see Breast Cancer Radiation)
- Chemotherapy (see Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer)
- Hormone therapy (see Breast Cancer Hormone Treatment)
- Biological therapy (see Biological Therapy for Breast Cancer).
Tykerb is generally considered to be a biological therapy. The best treatments can vary, depending on the stage of breast cancer (see Breast Cancer Treatment by Stage). Tykerb is approved to treat breast cancers that have spread to other parts of the body (metastatic breast cancers) that overexpress HER2 (they have a high concentration of HER2 receptors). It should always be used in combination with Xeloda or Femara.
The combination of Xeloda and Tykerb should not be tried unless other chemotherapy medications have failed. Specifically, an anthracycline (a taxane) and trastuzumab (Herceptin®) should have already been tried. Anthracyclines include:
- Daunorubicin (Cerubidine®, DaunoXome®)
- Doxorubicin (Adriamycin®, Doxil®)
- Epirubicin (Ellence®)
- Idarubicin (Idamycin®)
- Mitoxantrone (Novantrone®)
- Valrubicin (Valstar®).