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Is Enhertu a chemotherapy drug? What's Enhertu used for?

Medically reviewed by Melisa Puckey, BPharm. Last updated on Aug 11, 2022.

Does Enhertu cause hair loss? How is Enhertu given?

Official answer

by Drugs.com

Is Enhertu a chemotherapy drug?


Yes, Enhertu (Fam-trastuzumab deruxtecan-nxki) is a chemo drug (chemotherapy) and it is also a targeted therapy anti-cancer drug.

Enhertu fights cancer in two ways:

  • the antibody (trastuzumab) part is designed to find and attach to the HER2 receptor on cancer cells
  • once attached to the receptor the chemotherapy (deruxtecan) part of it is released into the cancer cells which destroys the cancer cells and any surrounding cancer cells

Enhertu has been made by joining two different types of anti-cancer drugs together to make one drug called antibody-drug conjugate (ADC).

Deruxtecan section of Enhertu:

  • drug section
  • chemotherapy (Cytotoxic to cancer cells)
  • destroys the cancer cells and any surrounding cancer cells.

Trastuzumab section of Enhertu:

  • is a monoclonal antibody section
  • targeted therapy anti-cancer medicine
  • is designed to find and attach to the HER2 receptor on cancer cells.

What is Enhertu used for?

Breast cancer that is human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive

Breast cancer in adults that cannot be removed by surgery or that has spread to other parts of your body (metastatic) and

  • you have already received a prior anti-HER2 breast cancer treatment:
  • for metastatic disease, or
  • have breast cancer that has come back during or within 6 months of completing treatment for their early-stage breast cancer.

Breast cancer that is HER2-low (IHC 1+ or IHC 2+/ISH-)

Breast cancer in adults that cannot be removed by surgery or that has spread to other parts of your body (metastatic) and

  • who have received prior chemotherapy in the metastatic setting or
  • developed disease recurrence during or within six months of completing adjuvant chemotherapy.

Stomach cancer that is HER2-positive

  • gastric or gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) adenocarcinoma cancer in adults and
  • you have already received a prior trastuzumab-based regimen and has
  • spread to areas near your stomach (locally advanced) or
  • that has spread to other parts of your body (metastatic).

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that has activating HER2 (ERBB2) mutations

  • ​​​​​​in adults that have NSCLC that cannot be removed by surgery or that has spread to other parts of your body (metastatic)
  • patient has already received prior systemic therapy
  • activating HER2 (ERBB2) mutations have been detected by a FDA-approved test.

How is Enhertu given?

Enhertu is given as an IV (intravenous) infusion every three weeks.

Does Enhertu cause hair loss?

One of the common side effects of Enhertu is hair loss
Hair loss was a common side effect of Enhertu with 46% of patients experiencing it.
For other side effects click here: Side effects of Enhertu

Does Enhertu have a boxed warning?

Enhertu has a boxed warning for two issues:

  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Embryo-Fetal Toxicity

For more information on these warnings click here: Boxed warning for Enhertu

Bottom line:

  • Enhertu is a chemo drug (chemotherapy) and it is also a targeted therapy anti-cancer drug.
  • Enhertu is an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) which joins two different anti-cancer to form one anti-cancer drug
  • Enhertu can be used to treat specific adult breast cancer, stomach cancer and NSCLC who fit the specific above criteria.
References

Drug information

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