Eribulin (Halaven) is a microtubule inhibitor chemotherapy that was first made from a sea sponge. It is used to treat metastatic breast cancer.

Eribulin was FDA approved in November 2010 based on results of the EMBRACE trial. This study showed women who took eribulin lived an average of 3 months longer than those who received a different chemotherapy of their doctor’s choice.


How eribulin works

Eribulin works by blocking cancer cell growth by stopping mitosis, the process of cells dividing. It interferes with the growth phase of microtubules, the structures of the cell that help move information inside cells during mitosis.


Who gets eribulin

Eribulin is used to treat metastatic breast cancer. It is FDA approved for people with metastatic breast cancer who:

  • took an anthracycline and a taxane in the past, for either early-stage or metastatic disease
  • have received at least two chemotherapy regimens for metastatic disease

Studies show this medicine is effective in all types of metastatic breast cancer, including triple-negative metastatic breast cancer.


How eribulin is given

Eribulin is usually taken on its own. It is given by vein, usually once a week for 2 weeks, followed by 1 week off. You and your doctor will discuss how many cycles you will have.


Side effects and things to remember

Side effects may include:

Before starting eribulin, be sure to tell your doctor about any medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbal supplements and over-the-counter medicines. Let your healthcare team know if you have heart or kidney problems.

You should avoid becoming pregnant while you are receiving eribulin. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant or may be pregnant while you are undergoing treatment.

Your doctor, pharmacist or nurse can help you manage your side effects. You can also go to our section on Side Effects for more information.


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Reviewed and updated: August 31, 2015

Reviewed by: Laura M. Spring, MD


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