Targeted therapies are drugs that target specific proteins or enzymes that play a role in the cancer cells' growth. They work by attacking cancer cells without damaging healthy cells.
The treatments currently available include Herceptin (also known as trastuzumab) and Tykerb ( lapatinib). New targeted therapy drugs are being developed.
Herceptin does not work for everyone, only for those whose breast cancers are HER2 positive (thought to be around 15-20% of all women diagnosed with breast cancer). It is used in conjunction with chemotherapy and although expensive, it is funded through the government's Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
Are there any side effects?
Herceptin can cause heart problems in some women, which can be detected with heart tests before symptoms occur. Your medical oncologist will discuss any possible benefits and drawbacks of taking Herceptin as part of your treatment.
Tykerb is used to treat HER2 positive breast secondary breast cancer. Fo rmore information visited the Targeted therapies in secondary breast cancer page.