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Health Information Center

Other Treatments for Breast Cancer

  • Amy Scholten, MPH
Publication Type:

Condition InDepth

Other Treatments for Breast Cancer

Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy uses drugs to make it hard for cancer cells to grow or spread. For breast cancer, these drugs target the HER2 protein. HER2 is a part of some breast cancer cells that help it grow and spread. The drugs block this protein and slow or stop the growth and spread of cancer. Targeted therapy drugs include:

  • Trastuzumab
  • Pertuzumab
  • Neratinib
  • Ado-trastuzumab emtansine
  • Lapatinib

Not all breast cancers have HER2. It is found in about 2 in 20 breast cancers. This type of breast cancer is often very aggressive.

Targeted therapy may be used alone or with other treatments.

Side Effects and Management

Targeted therapy may cause:

There are many ways to manage these and other problems. Problems that are addressed early on may be easier to control.


  • Breast cancer. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gynecology-and-obstetrics/breast-disorders/breast-cancer.
  • Breast cancer in women. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/breast-cancer-in-women.
  • HER2 targeted therapy for early and locally advanced breast cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/her2-targeted-therapy-for-early-and-locally-advanced-breast-cancer.
  • HER2 targeted therapy for metastatic breast cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/her2-targeted-therapy-for-metastatic-breast-cancer.
  • Targeted therapy for breast cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/treatment/targeted-therapy-for-breast-cancer.html.


  • Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.