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Can Tarceva (erlotinib) cure lung cancer?

Medically reviewed by Melisa Puckey, BPharm. Last updated on Nov 23, 2022.

Official answer


Tarceva (erlotinib) is not a cure for lung cancer. Tarceva is a type of targeted cancer therapy that is used in the treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that has spread. It may help to shrink tumors.

Tarceva helps prolong how long NSCLC patients live for without their cancer progressing (progression-free survival time) and also helps to increase the amount of time patients live with their cancer (overall survival time).

Tarceva has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat patients with metastatic NSCLC whose tumors have epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) exon 19 deletions or exon 21 (L858R) substitution mutations. It is also approved for use in patients with pancreatic cancer.


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