Other Treatments for Breast Cancer
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:
- Ado-trastuzumab emtansine
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:
- Skin rash
- Cough or problems breathing
- Low blood counts, which can lead to anemia or neutropenia
- Fast heartbeat—tachycardia
- Heart muscle damage—cardiomyopathy or Heart failure
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
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