Lapatinib in the management of breast cancer

Author(s): Peter S Hall, Jaishree Bhosle and David A Cameron

Lapatinib is licensed for use in combination with capecitabine for the treatment of patients with progressive advanced breast cancer whose tumors overexpress the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2/erbB2/HER2-neu), following therapy with an anthracycline, a taxane and trastuzumab. Lapatinib targets both the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR/HER1/erbB1) and HER2, and represents one of the most promising of a number of pharmacological attempts to bypass resistance mechanisms to trastuzumab. Further studies are being conducted to examine the potential role of lapatinib in the management of breast cancer in both the early and advanced setting. This article evaluates the pharmacology, tolerability and clinical efficacy of lapatinib. The future roles of lapatinib in the treatment of breast cancer are also discussed.