Targeted therapy

Targeted therapy is a more modern treatment method which, however, does not replace but complements traditional chemotherapy. The therapy is called targeted because this treatment affects certain biochemical or molecular targets in the tumor cells thus increasing its efficacy. 

A targeted therapy medication is added to a chemotherapy regimen in a few cases:

  • If a certain protein is found on the surface of the tumor cells – HER2/neu (also known as C-erbB2). HER2 was first identified as a protooncogene in 1989. Now we know that nearly 20% of breast tumors carry HER2/neu expression. This protein is blocked with targeted therapy which increases the overall effectiveness of treatment. This combination of drugs is used both in radical treatment and as a palliative method in metastatic disease;
  • In disseminated metastatic hormone-dependent breast tumor in combination with hormonal therapy. In this case targeted therapy medications affect the cyclin-dependent kinase 4/6 (CDK 4/6) which regulates the process of mitosis causing resistance (insensitivity) to hormone therapy. This group of targeted agents has already proven its effectiveness in the treatment of metastatic hormone-dependent tumors. The research is ongoing regarding their use in other cases, for example, as an adjuvant therapy for advanced stages of hormone-dependent tumors.

Online reference