Lapatinib, a 4-anilinoquinazoline, is an inhibitor of the intracellular tyrosine kinase domains of both EGFR (ErbB1) and of HER2 (ErbB2) receptors (estimated Kiapp values of 3nM and 13nM, respectively) with a slow off-rate from these receptors (half-life greater than or equal to 300 minutes). Lapatinib inhibits ErbB-driven tumour cell growth in vitro and in various animal models.

The combination of lapatinib and trastuzumab may offer complementary mechanisms of action as well as possible non-overlapping mechanisms of resistance. The growth inhibitory effects of lapatinib were evaluated in trastuzumab-conditioned cell lines. Lapatinib retained significant activity against HER2-amplified breast cancer cell lines selected for long-term growth in trastuzumab-containing medium in vitro and was synergistic in combination with trastuzumab in these cell lines