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EGFR inhibitors

A drug may be classified by the chemical type of the active ingredient or by the way it is used to treat a particular condition. Each drug can be classified into one or more drug classes.

Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR, also known as ErbB-1 or HER-1) inhibitors are either tyrosine kinase inhibitors or monoclonal antibodies that slow down or stop cell growth.

EGFRs are transmembrane receptors present on the cell membranes. They have an extracellular binding component, a transmembrane component and an intracellular tyrosine kinase component. EGFRs play an important role in controlling normal cell growth, apoptosis and other cellular functions. Mutations of EGFRs can lead to continual or abnormal activation of the receptors causing unregulated cell division, which can account for some types of cancers.

Tyrosine kinase inhibitors bind to the tyrosine kinase domain in the epidermal growth factor receptor and stop the activity of the EGFR.

Monoclonal antibodies bind to the extracellular component of the epidermal growth factor receptors, prevent the actual substrates from binding to the receptors therefore prevent activation of the epidermal growth factor receptor.

EGFR inhibitors are used to treat non-small-cell lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer and some other cancers that are caused by epidermal growth factor receptor up-regulation.

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