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Cetuximab (C225)

Catalog No.GC34217

Cetuximab (C225) Chemical Structure

Cetuximab is a chimeric monoclonal antibody generated from fusion of the variable region of the murine anti-EGFR monoclonal antibody M225 and the human IgG1 constant region.

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Cell experiment [1]:

Cell lines

SCC1 and UM-SCC-22B cells

Preparation Method

The toxicity of cetuximab to SCC1 and UM-SCC-22B cells was determined by MTT assay. At 72 h or 120 h after treatment with different doses of cetuximab (ranging from 0.1 nM to 0.5 μM), the culture medium was replaced and 50 μl of 1.0 mg/ml sterile filtered 3-(4, 5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2, 5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT; Sigma) was added to each well.

Reaction Conditions

0.1 nM to 0.5 μM at 72 h or 120 h


Treatment with cetuximab produced only modest inhibition of cell proliferation on SCC1 cells in vitro as determined by MMT assay.

Animal experiment [2]:

Animal models

BALB/c (nu/nu) female nude mice

Preparation Method

Xenografts were established in female nude mice (BALB c[nu/nu]) by subcutaneous injection of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cell lines a UT-SCC-14 and b UT-SCC-2. Cetuximab (1 mg/injection) was administered by intraperitoneal injection at day 10, 13 and 16. The tumour size was recorded at an interval of 2–3 days, n = 10-14.

Dosage form

1 mg, i.p.


Cetuximab treatment showed reduction in the nuclear accumulation of HIF-1α, while the overall HIF-1α expression was not significantly altered. And after cetuximab treatment a downregulation of CAIX was only found in UT-SCC-14 xenografts. Cetuximab treatment affects the tumour growth and the tumour partial oxygen pressure as measured by LiPc EPR oximetry.


[1]. Niu G, et al. Cetuximab-based immunotherapy and radioimmunotherapy of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Clin Cancer Res. 2010 Apr 1;16(7):2095-105.

[2]. Gustafsson H, et al. EPR Oximetry of Cetuximab-Treated Head-and-Neck Tumours in a Mouse Model. Cell Biochem Biophys. 2017 Dec;75(3-4):299-309.


Cetuximab is a chimeric monoclonal antibody generated from fusion of the variable region of the murine anti-EGFR monoclonal antibody M225 and the human IgG1 constant region. It produced antibody retains high affinity and specificity to EGFR and reduces immunogenicity.[1] Cetuximab bound with high affinity to FcγRI (EC50 = 0.13 nM) and FcγRIIIa (EC50 = 6 nM). It effectively induced ADCC across multiple tumor cell lines.[4] Treatment with 100 μg/ml cetuximab for 24h enhances the cytotoxicity effect of RSL3 treatment on KRAS mutant CRC cells.[2]

In vitro experiment indicated it that radiation enhances cetuximab (0.5 μg/ml)-mediated ADCC and activation of NK cells.[3] Treatment with 20 μg/mL cetuximab inhibited the proliferation of the parental UMSCC1 cell line (UMSCC1-P) ,while the three HNSCC cetuximab-resistant clones (C2, C5, and C11) were completely refractory to cetuximab.[6]

In vivo experiment it shown that cetuximab (13 mg/kg, s.c.) enhances the inhibitory effects of RSL3 and RSL3-induced ferroptosis.[2] In vivo, after i.v. injection of 4 doses of 10 mg/kg body-weight demonstrated that cetuximab markly inhibited tumor growth in SCC1 tumor bearing mice.[5] In vivo experiment it illustrated that cetuximab-treated (50 mg/kg, i.p.) tumors showed delayed growth, when mice were inoculated with the NSCLC H226 cell line individually with 2x106 tumor cells in the dorsal flank.[6]

[1]. Xiong HQ, et al. Cetuximab, a monoclonal antibody targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor, in combination with gemcitabine for advanced pancreatic cancer: a multicenter phase II Trial. J Clin Oncol. 2004 Jul 1;22(13):2610-6.
[2]. Yang J, et al. Cetuximab promotes RSL3-induced ferroptosis by suppressing the Nrf2/HO-1 signalling pathway in KRAS mutant colorectal cancer. Cell Death Dis. 2021 Nov 13;12(11):1079.
[3]. Jin WJ, et al. Tumor-Specific Antibody, Cetuximab, Enhances the In Situ Vaccine Effect of Radiation in Immunologically Cold Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Front Immunol. 2020 Nov 12;11:591139.
[4]. Patel D, et al. IgG isotype, glycosylation, and EGFR expression determine the induction of antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity in vitro by cetuximab. Hum Antibodies. 2010;19(4):89-99.
[5]. Niu G, et al. Cetuximab-based immunotherapy and radioimmunotherapy of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Clin Cancer Res. 2010 Apr 1;16(7):2095-105.
[6]. Iida M, et al. Targeting the HER Family with Pan-HER Effectively Overcomes Resistance to Cetuximab. Mol Cancer Ther. 2016 Sep;15(9):2175-86.

Chemical Properties

Cas No. 205923-56-4 SDF
Synonyms C225
Chemical Name N/A
Canonical SMILES [Cetuximab]
Formula C6484H10042N1732O2023S36 M.Wt 145543.35
Solubility N/A Storage Store at -30°C
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Research Update

Cetuximab for treating non-small cell lung cancer

Expert Opin Biol Ther2018 Apr;18(4):483-493.PMID: 29534625DOI: 10.1080/14712598.2018.1452906

Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR)-dependent signaling plays a crucial role in epithelial cancer biology, and dictated the development of several targeting agents. The mouse-human chimeric antibody Cetuximab was among the first to be developed. After about two decades of clinical research it has gained a significant place in the management of advanced colorectal and head and neck cancers, whereas its development in non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has not led to a place in routine clinical practice, because of marginal clinical benefit despite statistically significant Phase III trials. Recent data from ongoing trials suggest that more careful selection based on molecular markers may identify good responders. Areas covered: In this article, the authors review the literature concerning basic science studies identifying EGFR as a therapeutic target, pharmacological development of Cetuximab, its pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics, and clinical trials on Cetuximab in NSCLC, focusing on recent findings on putative predictive biomarkers. Expert opinion: Cetuximab currently has no role in NSCLC treatment outside of research settings. We argue that failure to identify a predictive biomarker early on has hampered its chances to enter routine practice. Although recent research suggests benefit in highly selected patient subsets, its potential impact is severely dampened by lack of regulatory body approval and the emergence of competitors for the same niches.

Cetuximab promotes RSL3-induced ferroptosis by suppressing the Nrf2/HO-1 signalling pathway in KRAS mutant colorectal cancer

Cell Death Dis2021 Nov 13;12(11):1079.PMID: 34775496DOI: 10.1038/s41419-021-04367-3

Cetuximab is approved for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) with RAS wild-type. Nevertheless, the prognosis remains poor and the effectiveness of cetuximab is limited in KRAS mutant mCRC. Recently, emerging evidence has shown that ferroptosis, a newly discovered form of nonapoptotic cell death, is closely related to KRAS mutant cells. Here, we further investigated whether cetuximab-mediated regulation of p38/Nrf2/HO-1 promotes RSL3-induced ferroptosis and plays a pivotal role in overcoming drug resistance in KRAS mutant colorectal cancer (CRC). In our research, we used two KRAS mutant CRC cell lines, HCT116 and DLD-1, as models of intrinsic resistance to cetuximab. The viability of cells treated with the combination of RSL3 and cetuximab was assessed by the CCK-8 and colony formation assays. The effective of cetuximab to promote RSL3-induced ferroptosis was investigated by evaluating lipid reactive oxygen species accumulation and the expression of the malondialdehyde and the intracellular iron assay. Cetuximab therapy contributed to regulating the p38/Nrf2/HO-1 axis, as determined by western blotting and transfection with small interfering RNAs. Cetuximab promoted RSL3-induced ferroptosis by inhibiting the Nrf2/HO-1 in KRAS mutant CRC cells, and this was further demonstrated in a xenograft nude mouse model. Our work reveals that cetuximab enhances the cytotoxic effect of RSL3 on KRAS mutant CRC cells and that cetuximab enhances RSL3-induced ferroptosis by inhibiting the Nrf2/HO-1 axis through the activation of p38 MAPK.

Radiotherapy plus cetuximab or cisplatin in human papillomavirus-positive oropharyngeal cancer (NRG Oncology RTOG 1016): a randomised, multicentre, non-inferiority trial

Lancet2019 Jan 5;393(10166):40-50.PMID: 30449625DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(18)32779-X

Background: Patients with human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma have high survival when treated with radiotherapy plus cisplatin. Whether replacement of cisplatin with cetuximab-an antibody against the epidermal growth factor receptor-can preserve high survival and reduce treatment toxicity is unknown. We investigated whether cetuximab would maintain a high proportion of patient survival and reduce acute and late toxicity.
Methods: RTOG 1016 was a randomised, multicentre, non-inferiority trial at 182 health-care centres in the USA and Canada. Eligibility criteria included histologically confirmed HPV-positive oropharyngeal carcinoma; American Joint Committee on Cancer 7th edition clinical categories T1-T2, N2a-N3 M0 or T3-T4, N0-N3 M0; Zubrod performance status 0 or 1; age at least 18 years; and adequate bone marrow, hepatic, and renal function. We randomly assigned patients (1:1) to receive either radiotherapy plus cetuximab or radiotherapy plus cisplatin. Randomisation was balanced by using randomly permuted blocks, and patients were stratified by T category (T1-T2 vs T3-T4), N category (N0-N2a vs N2b-N3), Zubrod performance status (0 vs 1), and tobacco smoking history (≤10 pack-years vs >10 pack-years). Patients were assigned to receive either intravenous cetuximab at a loading dose of 400 mg/m2 5-7 days before radiotherapy initiation, followed by cetuximab 250 mg/m2 weekly for seven doses (total 2150 mg/m2), or cisplatin 100 mg/m2 on days 1 and 22 of radiotherapy (total 200 mg/m2). All patients received accelerated intensity-modulated radiotherapy delivered at 70 Gy in 35 fractions over 6 weeks at six fractions per week (with two fractions given on one day, at least 6 h apart). The primary endpoint was overall survival, defined as time from randomisation to death from any cause, with non-inferiority margin 1·45. Primary analysis was based on the modified intention-to-treat approach, whereby all patients meeting eligibility criteria are included. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01302834.
Findings: Between June 9, 2011, and July 31, 2014, 987 patients were enrolled, of whom 849 were randomly assigned to receive radiotherapy plus cetuximab (n=425) or radiotherapy plus cisplatin (n=424). 399 patients assigned to receive cetuximab and 406 patients assigned to receive cisplatin were subsequently eligible. After median follow-up duration of 4·5 years, radiotherapy plus cetuximab did not meet the non-inferiority criteria for overall survival (hazard ratio [HR] 1·45, one-sided 95% upper CI 1·94; p=0·5056 for non-inferiority; one-sided log-rank p=0·0163). Estimated 5-year overall survival was 77·9% (95% CI 73·4-82·5) in the cetuximab group versus 84·6% (80·6-88·6) in the cisplatin group. Progression-free survival was significantly lower in the cetuximab group compared with the cisplatin group (HR 1·72, 95% CI 1·29-2·29; p=0·0002; 5-year progression-free survival 67·3%, 95% CI 62·4-72·2 vs 78·4%, 73·8-83·0), and locoregional failure was significantly higher in the cetuximab group compared with the cisplatin group (HR 2·05, 95% CI 1·35-3·10; 5-year proportions 17·3%, 95% CI 13·7-21·4 vs 9·9%, 6·9-13·6). Proportions of acute moderate to severe toxicity (77·4%, 95% CI 73·0-81·5 vs 81·7%, 77·5-85·3; p=0·1586) and late moderate to severe toxicity (16·5%, 95% CI 12·9-20·7 vs 20·4%, 16·4-24·8; p=0·1904) were similar between the cetuximab and cisplatin groups.
Interpretation: For patients with HPV-positive oropharyngeal carcinoma, radiotherapy plus cetuximab showed inferior overall survival and progression-free survival compared with radiotherapy plus cisplatin. Radiotherapy plus cisplatin is the standard of care for eligible patients with HPV-positive oropharyngeal carcinoma.
Funding: National Cancer Institute USA, Eli Lilly, and The Oral Cancer Foundation.

Efficacy and Tolerability of First-Line Cetuximab Plus Leucovorin, Fluorouracil, and Oxaliplatin (FOLFOX-4) Versus FOLFOX-4 in Patients With RAS Wild-Type Metastatic Colorectal Cancer: The Open-Label, Randomized, Phase III TAILOR Trial

J Clin Oncol2018 Oct 20;36(30):3031-3039.PMID: 30199311DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2018.78.3183

Purpose: Cetuximab in combination with chemotherapy is a standard-of-care first-line treatment regimen for patients with RAS wild-type (wt) metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC); however, the efficacy of cetuximab plus leucovorin, fluorouracil, and oxaliplatin (FOLFOX) has never before been proven in a controlled and randomized phase III trial. To our knowledge, the TAILOR trial ( ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01228734) is the first randomized, multicenter, phase III study of the addition of cetuximab to first-line FOLFOX prospectively choosing a RAS wt population and thus providing confirmative data for the efficacy and safety of cetuximab plus FOLFOX versus FOLFOX alone.
Patients and methods: TAILOR is an open-label, randomized (1:1), multicenter, phase III trial in patients from China comparing FOLFOX-4 with or without cetuximab in RAS wt (KRAS/NRAS, exons 2 to 4) mCRC. The primary end point of TAILOR was progression-free survival time; secondary end points included overall survival time, overall response rate, and safety and tolerability.
Results: In the modified intent-to-treat population of 393 patients with RAS wt mCRC, adding cetuximab to FOLFOX-4 significantly improved the primary end point of progression-free survival time compared with FOLFOX-4 alone (hazard ratio, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.54 to 0.89; P = .004; median, 9.2 v 7.4 months, respectively), as well as the secondary end points of overall survival time (current assessment after 300 events: hazard ratio, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.61 to 0.96; P = .02; median, 20.7 v 17.8 months, respectively) and overall response rate (odds ratio, 2.41; 95% CI, 1.61 to 3.61; P < .001; 61.1% v 39.5%, respectively). Treatment was well tolerated, and there were no new or unexpected safety findings.
Conclusion: The TAILOR study met all of its objectives and relevant clinical end points, confirming cetuximab in combination with FOLFOX as an effective standard-of-care first-line treatment regimen for patients with RAS wt mCRC.

Radiotherapy plus cisplatin or cetuximab in low-risk human papillomavirus-positive oropharyngeal cancer (De-ESCALaTE HPV): an open-label randomised controlled phase 3 trial

Lancet2019 Jan 5;393(10166):51-60.PMID: 30449623DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(18)32752-1

Background: The incidence of human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive oropharyngeal cancer, a disease affecting younger patients, is rapidly increasing. Cetuximab, an epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor, has been proposed for treatment de-escalation in this setting to reduce the toxicity of standard cisplatin treatment, but no randomised evidence exists for the efficacy of this strategy.
Methods: We did an open-label randomised controlled phase 3 trial at 32 head and neck treatment centres in Ireland, the Netherlands, and the UK, in patients aged 18 years or older with HPV-positive low-risk oropharyngeal cancer (non-smokers or lifetime smokers with a smoking history of <10 pack-years). Eligible patients were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive, in addition to radiotherapy (70 Gy in 35 fractions), either intravenous cisplatin (100 mg/m2 on days 1, 22, and 43 of radiotherapy) or intravenous cetuximab (400 mg/m2 loading dose followed by seven weekly infusions of 250 mg/m2). The primary outcome was overall severe (grade 3-5) toxicity events at 24 months from the end of treatment. The primary outcome was assessed by intention-to-treat and per-protocol analyses. This trial is registered with the ISRCTN registry, number ISRCTN33522080.
Findings: Between Nov 12, 2012, and Oct 1, 2016, 334 patients were recruited (166 in the cisplatin group and 168 in the cetuximab group). Overall (acute and late) severe (grade 3-5) toxicity did not differ significantly between treatment groups at 24 months (mean number of events per patient 4·8 [95% CI 4·2-5·4] with cisplatin vs 4·8 [4·2-5·4] with cetuximab; p=0·98). At 24 months, overall all-grade toxicity did not differ significantly either (mean number of events per patient 29·2 [95% CI 27·3-31·0] with cisplatin vs 30·1 [28·3-31·9] with cetuximab; p=0·49). However, there was a significant difference between cisplatin and cetuximab in 2-year overall survival (97·5% vs 89·4%, hazard ratio 5·0 [95% CI 1·7-14·7]; p=0·001) and 2-year recurrence (6·0% vs 16·1%, 3·4 [1·6-7·2]; p=0·0007).
Interpretation: Compared with the standard cisplatin regimen, cetuximab showed no benefit in terms of reduced toxicity, but instead showed significant detriment in terms of tumour control. Cisplatin and radiotherapy should be used as the standard of care for HPV-positive low-risk patients who are able to tolerate cisplatin.
Funding: Cancer Research UK.


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