Lapatinib (Tykerb®) is a biological therapy for women with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer.

Clinical trials have shown that when given in combination with a chemotherapy drug called capecitabine, lapatinib slows the progression of metastatic breast cancer.

When is lapatinib recommended?

Lapatinib may be offered to women whose metastatic  breast cancer has stopped responding to a combination of trastuzumab and chemotherapy.

Lapatinib will not benefit women with HER2-negative breast cancer.

What does treatment with lapatinib involve?

Lapatinib is a tablet that is taken every day (usually 5–6 tablets a day). It’s taken with a chemotherapy drug called capecitabine.

Side effects of lapatinib

Common side effects of lapatinib include diarrhoea, hand–foot syndrome, anaemia and nausea. Other possible side effects include dyspepsia, liver dysfunction and rash.