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Treatment

 
Treatment

Chapter: 6 - Treatment

Subchapter: 10 - Targeted Therapy

In addition to systemic chemotherapy and hormone therapy, there are newer, more effective treatments that can attack specific cancer cells without harming normal cells. Currently, these targeted methods are commonly used in combination with traditional chemotherapy. However, targeted drugs often have less severe side effects than standard chemotherapy drugs.

Monoclonal Antibodies
One type of targeted therapy currently being studied is monoclonal antibodies. These laboratory-manufactured proteins bind with certain cancers.

Herceptin or Trastuzumab
Monoclonal antibody drugs such as Herceptin (also known as trastuzumab) and Lapatinib target HER2-positive tumors. If cancer cells are positive for the HER2/neu receptors, that means there is an overabundance of receptors on the cancer cell for the growth-stimulating HER2 protein.

The tumor acts almost like a magnet for growth hormones, and when the tumor cells connect with growth hormone cells, the cancer can quickly grow and multiply. Herceptin helps shrink these HER2-positive tumors by finding the cells, binding with them, and blocking the action of the receptor.

Bevacizumab
Another targeted therapy, Bevacizumab, prevents tumors from making new blood vessels that could feed the tumor, essentially cutting off the cancer cells from all nutrients.

As with all medical treatments, if you experience unusual changes in your health during targeted therapy, notify your doctor immediately.

Related Questions

  • Thumb avatar default

    What has been your experiences with arimidex? Not sure I want to take. It. Tumor size 4mm stage 1, invasive ductal. Please advise.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 7 years 8 answers
    • View all 8 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I am in my last year of Femara and feel extremely lucky to have had a type of breast cancer that was ER+ PR+ Her2- There are drugs that can lower the hormones my breast cancer fed off of. You are also lucky to have this type of breast cancer. Plenty of women on this board so not have this...

      more

      I am in my last year of Femara and feel extremely lucky to have had a type of breast cancer that was ER+ PR+ Her2- There are drugs that can lower the hormones my breast cancer fed off of. You are also lucky to have this type of breast cancer. Plenty of women on this board so not have this option as they don't have the type of cancer that would benefit from this type of treatment. When I was diagnosed, my oncologist --ran the numbers-- and taking this hormone blocking drug upped my percentages of life by a bunch. I urge you to make this decision with the same seriousness as the other procedure to rid yourself of this tough opponent. You have such a early stage cancer, but you will be stopping your treatment before it has been completed. You probably feel like you have done enough.
      I can assure you, if you follow through with your decision, and you have a reoccurrence, you can't go back and have a do-over.
      Although there are no guarantee's, this is your golden opportunity to get rid of this monster, and starve any lingering cancer cells of nourishment. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Life is Good! Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      I took it for five years with minimal side effects. It is extra insurance! Good luck with your decision.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Does anyone have advice? I'm starting 12 weeks of taxol/herceptin weekly. Then nine months of herceptin every 3 weeks. I'm scared as heck.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Isabel Souchet Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2010

      I was very scared also. I did 5 treatments of taxotere,carboplatin n herceptin n then 9months of herceptin. For me,the chemo kicked my butt, I didn't do well. But it was over before I knew and now I am totally fine. You will get through it, try to stay hydrated before n after your treatments....

      more

      I was very scared also. I did 5 treatments of taxotere,carboplatin n herceptin n then 9months of herceptin. For me,the chemo kicked my butt, I didn't do well. But it was over before I knew and now I am totally fine. You will get through it, try to stay hydrated before n after your treatments. Make sure you let your oncologist know of any side effects. There's many drugs to alleviate bothersome symptoms.

      1 comment
    • Patricia Stoop Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I've had over a year of treatment so far and only 3 Herceptin left. I started scared too!!! Walking, yoga and especially meditation have been invaluable. Having a support network, asking for help when you need it, praying to whomever you believe in, cuddling pets, Netflix movies, audiobooks all...

      more

      I've had over a year of treatment so far and only 3 Herceptin left. I started scared too!!! Walking, yoga and especially meditation have been invaluable. Having a support network, asking for help when you need it, praying to whomever you believe in, cuddling pets, Netflix movies, audiobooks all help. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and your medical team will help you through any issues. Her2 is now an ok one to have - at least we have Herceptin and a bunch if new treatments in studies now too.

      1 comment
  • Inna S Profile

    I'm 27.finished my 6 rounds of chemo.this Fri gonna start Herseptin.what to expect?for how long you took it?and what next?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 4 Patient
    almost 6 years 2 answers
    • Mimi Carroll Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Herceptin is generally given every 21 days for one year. Due to side effects I take 1/3 of dose weekly. Herceptin is usually well tolerated. You may get a headache and flu like symptoms or may be just fine. You will have your heart checked every 3-4 months while on herceptin.

      Comment
    • Leah Fortune Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Somebody will chime in

      Comment
  • Sue Rice Profile

    I have just been told to stop Herceptin treatment after 4 1/2 years. Due to low heart rate function test , anyone else hadve to do the same? Was it ok or did cancer grow again?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 4 Patient
    over 6 years 8 answers
    • View all 8 answers
    • Rita Jo Hayes Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2009

      Sue I had to stop the herceptin in my first journey short 2 treatments due to cardiomyopathy from it. I was off of the herceptin group of drugs for about two years, taking hormone blockers. They no longer were working, but that bought me some time to heal my heart. It returned almost back to...

      more

      Sue I had to stop the herceptin in my first journey short 2 treatments due to cardiomyopathy from it. I was off of the herceptin group of drugs for about two years, taking hormone blockers. They no longer were working, but that bought me some time to heal my heart. It returned almost back to normal. I have mets in both my lungs. I can no longer take herceptin, but there are a couple newer meds out there in that same classification. I am currently on a combination of tykurb and xeloda, pill form. It has worked well for me so far. Have been on it for approx. 7 months. Will be getting my 3 month scans soon to see if I need to move onto one of the other herceptin type drugs. My Ono docs says I have several options yet left of newer, lower heart related side effects to try. Our goal is to keep the mets from growing or at least slow them down, which hthe tykurb n xeloda has worked well. Have your Ono doc research the new herceptin type drugs that are out there. Good luck and prayers your way.you can read my bio, I think I put the time frames in there. Thanks. Rita Jo

      1 comment
    • André Roberts Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      Wow, 4 1/2 years? I did a year of it. It's my understanding that 1 yr is protocol. Studies say that's all is needed. I've even heard of doing only 6 months. That it has the same benefit as 1 year. Now I've only been off of it since April. So far so good. Prayers to you.

      Comment

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