New targeted therapies being studied?


Question from MarciaL: What targeted therapies are being studied now in breast cancer? Are there new ones that look promising?
Answers - Andrew D. Seidman, M.D. Let me put targeted therapy into context. For potential end users of these agents, it's important to know something of the history of developing targeted agents, and also to understand the phase of development in which they presently exist. The targeted agents that most of us have been aware of recently include Herceptin, also known as trastuzumab, the monoclonal antibodies that target the HER2 receptor, and more recently, the monoclonal antibody known as Avastin, also known as bevacizumab, which targets the epidermal growth factor receptor (in other words, interferes with the blood vessels that supply tumors with their necessary nutrients). In addition, we heard very promising data regarding an oral drug called Tykerb, otherwise known as lapatinib, which was studied in a Phase 3 trial in women with advanced breast cancer and whose cancer had progressed despite Herceptin. In addition, it's important to note historically that in a sense, targeted therapy has been with us for over a century. By this, I mean that it was in the 1800s that the observation of estrogen dependency for breast cancer growth was made and strategies to deprive breast tumors of estrogen, including surgical removal of the ovaries in premenopausal women, might be considered, in a sense, the pioneer of targeted therapies.
Jennifer Armstrong, M.D. I think that's a great opening—thank you.

On Wednesday, July 19, 2006, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Targeted Therapies: What is Right for You?Andrew Seidman, M.D. and moderator Jennifer Armstrong, M.D. answered your questions about different kinds of targeted therapies and how they work.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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