comscoreTargeted Therapy

Targeted Therapy

Targeted cancer therapies are treatments that target specific characteristics of cancer cells, such as a protein that allows the cancer cells to grow in a rapid or abnormal way.

Targeted cancer therapies are treatments that target specific characteristics of cancer cells, such as a protein that allows the cancer cells to grow in a rapid or abnormal way. Targeted therapies are generally less likely than chemotherapy to harm normal, healthy cells. Some targeted therapies are antibodies that work like the antibodies made naturally by our immune systems. These types of targeted therapies are sometimes called immune targeted therapies.

Pregnant women should not get targeted therapies. The little research that has been done suggests that targeted therapies are not safe during pregnancy. Visit the Treatment for Breast Cancer During Pregnancy page for more information.

 

Afinitor

Afinitor (chemical name: everolimus) is an mTOR inhibitor. Afinitor works against hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers that have stopped responding to Arimidex or Femara by stopping the cancer cells from getting the energy they need.

Learn more.

 

Avastin

Avastin (chemical name: bevacizumab) is a blood vessel growth inhibitor used off-label to treat certain advanced-stage or metastatic breast cancers. Avastin works by blocking the growth of new blood vessels that cancer cells depend on to grow and function.

Learn more.

 

Enhertu

Enhertu (chemical name: fam-trastuzumab-deruxtecan-nxki) is a targeted therapy made up of three parts: an anti-HER2 medicine, a chemotherapy medicine, and a compound that links the chemotherapy and the anti-HER2 medicine together. Enhertu works against unresectable (not able to be removed with surgery) and metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer that has been treated with an anti-HER2 medicine.

Learn more.

 

Herceptin

Herceptin (chemical name: trastuzumab) is a HER2 inhibitor targeted therapy. Herceptin works against HER2-positive breast cancers by blocking the ability of the cancer cells to receive chemical signals that tell the cells to grow.

Learn more.

 

Ibrance

Ibrance (chemical name: palbociclib) is a CDK4/6 inhibitor. Ibrance works against advanced-stage or metastatic, hormone-receptor-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer by stopping cancer cells from dividing and growing.

Learn more.

 

Kadcyla

Kadcyla (chemical name: T-DM1 or ado-trastuzumab emtansine) is a combination of Herceptin and the chemotherapy medicine emtansine. Kadcyla was designed to deliver emtansine to cancer cells in a targeted way by attaching emtansine to Herceptin. Herceptin then carries emtansine to the HER2-positive cancer cells.

Learn more.

 

Kisqali

Kisqali (chemical name: ribociclib) is a CDK4/6 inhibitor like Ibrance. Kisqali works against advanced-stage or metastatic, hormone-receptor-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer by stopping cancer cells from dividing and growing.

Learn more.

 

Lynparza

Lynparza (chemical name: olaparib) is a PARP inhibitor. Lynparza works against early-stage and metastatic HER2-negative breast cancer with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation by making it very difficult for these cancer cells to fix DNA damage.

Learn more.

 

Margenza

Margenza (chemical name: margetuximab-cmkb) is a HER2 inhibitor targeted therapy. Margenza works by blocking the ability of HER2-positive cancer cells to receive chemical signals that tell them to grow. Margenza also was designed to improve the ability of immune cells to bind to HER2-positive breast cancer cells, allowing the immune cells to destroy the cancer cells.

Learn more.

 

Nerlynx

Nerlynx (chemical name: neratinib) is an irreversible pan-HER inhibitor. Nerlynx works against HER2-positive breast cancer by blocking the cancer cells’ ability to receive growth signals.

Learn more.

 

Perjeta

Perjeta (chemical name: pertuzumab) is a HER2 inhibitor targeted therapy, like Herceptin. Perjeta works against HER2-positive breast cancers by blocking the cancer cells’ ability to receive growth signals.

Learn more.

 

Phesgo

Phesgo (chemical name: pertuzumab, trastuzumab, and hyaluronidase-zzxf) is a fixed-dose combination of Herceptin (chemical name: trastuzumab), Perjeta (chemical name: pertuzumab), and hyaluronidase-zzxf to treat all stages of HER2-positive breast cancer in combination with chemotherapy. Phesgo is given as an injection under the skin.

Learn more.

 

Piqray

Piqray (chemical name: alpelisib) is a PI3K inhibitor. Piqray is used to treat advanced-stage or metastatic hormone-receptor-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer with a PIK3CA mutation that has grown after treatment with hormonal therapy in postmenopausal women and men.

Learn more.

 

Talzenna

Talzenna (chemical name: talazoparib) is a PARP inhibitor, like Lynparza. Talzenna is used to treat locally advanced or metastatic HER2-negative breast cancer with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation by making it very difficult for these cancer cells to fix DNA damage.

Learn more.

 

Trodelvy

Trodelvy (chemical name: sacituzumab govitecan-hziy) is an antibody-drug conjugate immune targeted therapy made up of: a monoclonal antibody that targets the Trop-2 protein, a chemotherapy medicine, and a compound that links the monoclonal antibody and the chemotherapy. Trodelvy is used to treat adults with unresectable locally advanced or metastatic triple-negative breast cancer who have been treated with two or more systemic therapies (such as chemotherapy or targeted therapy), at least one of which was used to treat advanced-stage disease.

Learn more.

 

Tukysa

Tukysa (chemical name: tucatinib) is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor. Tyrosine kinases are enzymes that help control how cells grow and divide, among other functions. If the enzyme is too active or if a cell has too much of the enzyme, it can make cells grow uncontrollably. Tukysa treats certain advanced-stage HER2-positive breast cancers by blocking a specific area of the HER2 gene in cancer cells, which stops the cells from growing and spreading.

Learn more.

 

Tykerb

Tykerb (chemical name: lapatinib) is a HER2 inhibitor targeted therapy, like Herceptin and Perjeta. Tykerb works against HER2-positive breast cancers by blocking certain proteins that can cause uncontrolled cell growth.

Learn more.

 

Verzenio

Verzenio (chemical name: abemaciclib) is a CDK4/6 inhibitor, like Ibrance and Kisqali. Verzenio works against advanced-stage or metastatic, hormone-receptor-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer by stopping cancer cells from dividing and growing.

Learn more.

 

What Are CDK4/6 Inhibitors?

CDK4/6 inhibitors are a class of medicines used to treat certain types of hormone-receptor-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer. These medicines interrupt the process through which breast cancer cells divide and multiply.

Learn more.

 

What Are Anti-HER2 Inhibitors?

Anti-HER2 therapies (also called HER2 inhibitors or HER2-targeted therapies) are a class of medicines used to treat all stages of HER2-positive breast cancer, from early-stage to metastatic. Metastatic breast cancer is cancer that has spread to other parts of the body away from the breast, such as the bones or liver.

Learn more.

— Last updated on May 12, 2022, 6:35 PM

Reviewed by 1 medical adviser
 
Brian Wojciechowski, MD
Crozer Health System, Philadelphia area, PA
Learn more about our advisory board
Other sections related to Targeted Therapy