Targeted therapy is a cancer medicine that focuses on proteins that control the growth, the division and spreading of cancer cells. This process is a foundation of treating cancer with precision medicine. After researchers have studied about the changes in the DNA and proteins that stimulate the growth of cancer, more effective treatment has been created to target those proteins. Some drugs mechanism in targeted therapy involve diminishing the growth of cancer cells and their survivability.
Unlike traditional chemotherapy, targeted therapy targets proteins or genes that are specific to cancer cells. This treatment can stop the blood from flowing to the tumor and helps immune system to destroy the cancer cells. Compared to other types of treatment, targeted therapy is less harmful.
Targeted therapy in different types of cancers
Targeted therapy is suitable for specific cancers that have arose from genetic mutations. Specific gene such as BRCA, BRAF, EGFR, ALK, ROS1 and HER2 are linked to the following types of cancer.
Breast cancer cells have an overactive HER2/positive gene that may lead to aggressive tumors. Small molecular inhibitors and monoclonal antibodies are recommended for treatment. Additionally, some other drugs that can be used are trastuzumab, petzumab, adotrazumab-ematansine, everolimus, lapatinib and palbociclib.
Hormone therapy is one type of targeted therapy. It can be used to shrink the tumor before it is surgically removed. This type of treatment is often used to prevent further progression of metastatic form of cancer.
In some clinical practice, EGFR genetic mutation in lung cancer is a rare type of mutation, which can only be cured by specific type of treatment. Poziotinib is implemented and proved to be effective for further lung cancer treatment.
Microsatellite instability-high (MSI) colorectal cancer in some patients tend to can mutate often due to its ability to grow. Physician also use chemotherapy and targeted therapies in such condition to provoke T cell to carry on their jobs.
Complications from targeted therapy
Some side effects include rash, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, and vomiting. Patients may also feel fatigue. Moreover, blood results may show elevated liver enzymes, low red and white blood cells and low blood clotting factor.
Some drawbacks of targeted therapy are when cancer cells can possibly become resistant to the drug. It happens when the target subject changes and targeted therapy can no longer interact with it or when cancer cells have discovered new ways to develop that no longer depends on the target. However, targeted therapy works to its optimal level when implementing with more than one type of the therapy or use it along with other methods of cancer treatment.