Any one of a class of drugs that interfere with cell growth in a variety of different ways by inhibiting the action of tyrosine kinases. This family of enzymes, which occur both within cells and as components of cell-membrane receptor sites, have an important role in cell division and cell growth. Many tumour cells have been shown to have both intracellular enzymes and extracellular receptor sites, and a variety of anticancer agents have been developed to inhibit enzyme activity at these sites. Among these drugs are imatinib, dasatinib (Sprycel), and nilotinib (Tasigna), used for treating chronic myeloid leukaemia; sunitinib, for treating renal cell carcinoma; and erlotinib (Tarceva), for treating pancreatic cancer and non-small-cell lung cancer. See also epidermal growth factor receptor.
Subjects: Medicine and Health.