Targeted therapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses drugs to target proteins that control how cancer cells grow, divide, and spread. Cancer treatments that "target" cancer cells can offer an advantage of reduced cancer treatment-related side effects and improved outcomes. Doctors often use targeted therapy in combination with chemotherapy and other treatments.
There are different types of targeted therapy; however, most help treat cancer by interfering with specific substances, such as proteins and genes, that help tumors grow and spread throughout the body. Doctors often use targeted therapy, along with chemotherapy and other treatments.
Most targeted therapies are either small-molecule drugs or monoclonal antibodies.
Targeted therapies can be given in two main ways:
How often and how long you’ll need targeted therapy treatment depends on your cancer type and how well you respond to treatment. Your cancer treatment may take place every day, every week, or every month. You might also be given the treatment in cycles, a period of treatment followed by a break.
You must follow your oncologist’s instructions and show up for all of your scheduled follow-up appointments. Your WVCI cancer care team will work with you for your individualized cancer treatment plan.
Targeted therapy can cause side effects, although usually less severe than what is typically experienced after chemotherapy. The side effects you may have will depend on the type of targeted therapy you receive and how your body reacts.
There may be other side effects with the specific drug you are receiving; check with your oncologist.
Targeted therapies are a rapidly growing field of cancer research. As researchers continue to study new targets and drugs through clinical trials, there is hope that more cancers will be able to be treated with targeted therapies in the future. Breast cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, melanoma, and blood cancers, such as leukemia and lymphoma, are examples of cancers currently treated with targeted therapies.