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How does Gilotrif (afatinib) work?

Medically reviewed by Philip Thornton, DipPharm. Last updated on Oct 25, 2022.

What is the mechanism of action for Gilotrif (afatinib)?

Official answer


Gilotrif (afatinib) is an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitor used in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). It is used to treat NSCLC that is EGFR-positive, meaning that it is caused by an abnormal EGFR gene. Gilotrif works by targeting and irreversibly blocking EGFR.

Tyrosine kinases are a family of enzymes that play a key role in controlling the signaling processes involved in cell growth, differentiation, metabolism and death. EGFR is found on the surface of cells and helps them to grow, but if the EGFR gene is defective then the EGFR receptor can be overactive causing cells to grow out of control and cancer to develop.

Gilotrif helps to stop or slow the spread of NSCLC.


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