Erlotinib (Tarceva) is a human epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitor. Some patients who have received it have had gastrointestinal perforations, with fatalities reported.


Chemical type: quinazolinamine


Approved for: advanced non-small cell lung cancer, pancreatic cancer. It has been investigated in additional tumors (renal, gynecologic, etc.)


Risk factors for GI tract perforation:

(1) high dose erlotinib therapy

(2) peptic ulcer disease

(3) diverticulosis

(4) concurrent therapy with anti-angiogenic agent

(5) concurrent taxane-based therapy

(6) corticosteroid therapy

(7) NSAID therapy


The drug should be discontinued if a gastrointestinal tract perforation occurs (absolute contraindication to further therapy).


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