Hypomagnesemia, or reduced magnesium levels, is a side effect of Erbitux® (cetuximab) treatment. Patients with colorectal cancer whose blood magnesium dropped the fastest also had the best response to Erbitux given with Camptosar® (irinotecan) .
Italian researchers measured magnesium levels for 68 patients before treatment began and then 6 hours, 1 7, 14, 21, 50, and 92 days later. After the seventh day, readings decreased consistently.
Magnesium levels fell at least 20 percent for 25 patients by the third week. More of these patients responded to treatment, they lived longer before their cancer got worse and had longer overall survival. Read the rest of this entry »