Why is it prescribed?

Necitumumab is used in combination with gemcitabine and cisplatin, for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic squamous non-small cell lung cancer who have not received prior chemotherapy for this condition. 

Products that have this ingredient include •Portrazza® •

See other drugs used in the treatment of •non-small cell lung cancer •

Get medical help immediately if you experience:

  • Chest pain or loss of strength in an arm or leg, change in speech or change in vision
  •  Swelling, pain and tenderness in a limb
  •  Difficulty breathing, chest pain, or an abnormal heartbeat and discomfort.
  • Low blood levels of magnesium, potassium, calcium or phosphate. Blood samples may be taken before each infusion to measure these electrolyte levels. 

More common side effects:

  • Skin reactions, such as acne-like rash, itchy dry skin, scaling, skin peeling, nail changes, redness on the palms of hands and feet
  • Vomiting
  • Fever or high temperature (pyrexia)
  • Decreased weight
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Cold sores

Common side effects

  • Headache
  • Coughing up blood 
  • Nosebleed 
  • Strange tastes; metallic taste 
  • Eye reactions, such as inflammation, pink eye, irritation, blurred vision, dry eyes
  • Bladder and/or kidney infection
  • Pain when passing urine 
  • Difficulty in swallowing 
  • Muscle spasms
  • Inflammation of veins in the legs
  • Pain in your mouth and throat


Necitumumab belongs to a group of biologic substances called monoclonal antibodies. It recognizes and binds specifically to a protein on the surface of some cancer cells. The protein is known as an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Other body proteins (called growth factors) can attach to the EGFR and stimulate the cancer cell to grow and divide. Necitumumab stops other proteins from binding to the EGFR and can prevent the cancer cell from growing and multiplying.


  • Take this medication with caution if you:
  • have had blood clots in the veins or the arteries 
  • have ever had a heart attack or stroke
  • have ever had low blood levels of magnesium, calcium, potassium or phosphate;
  • have ever had an allergic reaction to an infusion;
  • have ever had skin reactions after treatment with a drug;
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant;
  • are breastfeeding;
  • have any allergies to this drug or to its ingredients.

This medication should not be used in peopel under the age of 18 years since safety in this population has not been studied.

Pregnancy:  Do not use during pregnancy.  Protect against pregnancy while taking this medication and for at least 3 months after this medication has been discontinued.

Lactation: Do not breastfeed while taking this medication and for at least 4 months after this medication has been discontinued.



Page Last Updated: 25/11/2015