Targeted therapy is a type of cancer treatment that targets proteins that influence how cancer cells grow, divide, and spread. It is the foundation of accurate medicine.
As researchers discover more about the DNA changes and proteins that cause cancer, they are reasonably able to develop treatments that target these proteins.
Most targeted treatments are either small-molecule drugs or monoclonal antibodies.
For a few types of cancer, most patients with that cancer will have a target for a particular medication, so they can be treated with that medication. But, most of the time, your tumor will require to be tested to see if it includes targets for which we have medications.
Testing your cancer for targets that could aid you and your doctor choose your treatment is called biomarker testing.
You may need to have a biopsy for biomarker testing. A biopsy is a process in which your doctor extracts a piece of the tumor for testing. There are some risks to having a biopsy. These risks differ depending on the extent of the tumor and location. Your doctor will clarify the risks of having a biopsy for your type of tumor.
Most types of targeted therapy help cure cancer by inhibiting specific proteins that help tumors to grow and spread throughout the body. They treat cancer in several ways. They can:
Targeted therapy does have some disadvantages. These include:
Targeted therapy can also cause side effects. The side effects depend on the type of targeted therapy you acquire and how your body responds to the therapy.
The most typical side effects of targeted therapy include diarrhea and liver problems. Other side effects include problems with blood clotting and wound recovery, high blood pressure, fatigue, mouth ulcers, nail changes, hair color loss, and skin problems. Skin problems include rash or dry skin.
There are treatments for many of these side effects. These medications may prevent the side effects from occurring or treat them once they occur. Most side effects of targeted therapy go out after treatment ends.