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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

    4 AC Treatments, Taxol/Herceptin for 3 months and then 6 months of Herceptin....one year of chemo in total no surgery...is that possible?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      It sounds like you may not feel comfortable about your treatment???? I would get a second opinion if I were you. Having no surgery does sound a little strange.

      Comment
    • Tiffani Warila Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I would think you would need some type of surgery, weather it be a lumpectomy or mastectomy. Maybe they can tell through clean margins, that the biopsy got all of the cancer cells, and the chemo is being used as a precautionary measure? I'd you ask your oncologist why there would be no surgery?

      Comment
  • Susan Denevan Profile

    Has anyone had adverse reactions from receiving herceptin alone?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    about 8 years 2 answers
    • Sue Rice Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      I have dizziness, tiredness, runny nose that suddenly dries up and hurts, brittle nails I have also put on weight and the fatigue is frustrating you want to exercise but it is just so hard! But it has kept me stable for 3 years so far so its worth it.

      Comment
    • holly jones Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I am actually going for a ct scan tomorrow due to some dizziness/headache on & off,hoping its nothing! I also have a runny nose for a couple weeks after the treatment and a cough/sore throat the night of treatment. I finished with chemo in November and hoping my last herceptin will be in June!

      Comment
  • Janeen Rosado Profile

    How long has herceptin been used to treat breast cancer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 8 years 1 answer
    • Dawn Sullivan Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 3A Patient

      Herceptin has been FDA approved since 1998 and there is a very good movie called living proof about the doctor who found the protein.

      1 comment
  • Alice Klobukowski Profile

    What is a dense breast?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    about 8 years 2 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Are you asking if anyone has dense breasts? I'm not sure I understand the question?

      Comment
    • Alice Klobukowski Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2A Patient

      I goofed up here and don't know how to erase/delete this error. I wrote another post concerning the fact that I never understood that having dense breasts is a factor in the increased risk of developing an aggressive tumor, which I did.

      2 comments

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