Tagrisso (osimertinib)

Tagrisso® is a targeted therapy that is used to treat some non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC) that have a certain EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) mutation, specifically exon 19 deletions or exon 21 mutations. EGFR mutation is determined by biomarker tests (molecular testing) conducted on a biopsy sample of the tumor. Tagrisso is an EGFR inhibitor and is also classified as a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI). It is designed to block the activating sites (tyrosine kinases) of several proteins within the cancer cell. These proteins can stimulate cancer growth when the tumor has an EGFR mutation. By blocking the action of the proteins, Tagrisso may shrink the cancer or slow the cancer’s progression.1,2

Tagrisso is used to treat patients with NSCLC that are positive for EGFR mutation (T790M mutation) that is metastatic (spread to distant parts of the body) after other EGFR TKI therapies have already been tried.2

About EGFR Mutations

An estimated 10% of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in the United States have a tumor mutation associated with EGFR. EGFR mutations are most often found in tumors in female patients who have never smoked (patients are considered “never smokers” if they have smoked less than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime). The tumors are likely to be adenocarcinoma. However, EGFR mutations are not exclusive to this type of NSCLC or non-smokers – mutations have also been found in smokers and in other tumor types.3,4

Taking Tagrisso

Tagrisso is a pill that is taken by mouth once daily. It may be taken with or without food. The dosage of Tagrisso is determined by several factors, including the patient’s general health and ongoing response to treatment.2

Side Effects of Tagrisso

Tagrisso may cause side effects, and in some cases, these side effects can be severe. Any side effects should be reported to a health care professional. Side effects experienced in greater than 30% of patients taking Tagrisso include lowered white blood cells (increasing the risk of infection), lowered platelets (increasing the risk of bleeding or bruising), low red blood cells (anemia), diarrhea, skin rash, neutropenia (decrease in a specific type of white blood cell), and dry skin. Less common side effects experienced in 10-29% of patients receiving Tagrisso include nail changes, low sodium levels in the blood, high magnesium levels in the blood, eye disorders (including dry eyes, blurred vision, keratitis, cataract, eye irritation, floaters, or eye pain), nausea, decreased appetite, constipation, fatigue, cough, itching, back pain, mouth sores, and headache. Rarely, Tagrisso can cause severe side effects, including serious heart and lung events. Patients taking Tagrisso should seek medical care immediately if they experience any of the following symptoms: trouble breathing, shortness of breath, cough, fever, heart pounding or racing, swelling of the ankles and feet, or feeling lightheaded.1,2


Patients receiving Tagrisso should talk to their doctor about other medications, herbal remedies, and any supplements they are taking, as well as any other health conditions. Patients should not take aspirin while taking Tagrisso without discussing with their doctor. Patients  should talk to their doctor before receiving immunizations or vaccinations while taking Tagrisso to make sure they are appropriate. Patients who are pregnant or may become pregnant during treatment should discuss their condition with their doctor prior to starting Tagrisso, as it may be hazardous to the fetus. It is not known whether Tagrisso passes into breast milk, and patients should not breastfeed while taking Tagrisso.2

Written by: Emily Downward | Last reviewed: October 2018.
View References
  1. Tagrisso product website, AstraZeneca. Accessed online on 9/27/16 at https://www.tagrisso.com/.
  2. Chemocare. Accessed online on 9/27/16 at http://chemocare.com/chemotherapy/drug-info/osimertinib.aspx.
  3. National Cancer Institute. Accessed online on 8/1/16 at http://www.cancer.gov/
  4. My Cancer Genome. Accessed online on 8/11/16 at https://www.mycancergenome.org/.