Targeted therapy for metastatic breast cancer

Researchers are very interested in finding new targeted therapies for all types of breast cancer. Today, a number of targeted therapies are FDAinfo-icon approved only for treating metastaticinfo-icon breast cancer. Others may be available to you through clinical trials.

There are many different types of targeted therapyinfo-icon. This section tells you about some of the approved treatments. 

Targeted Therapy for HER2-Positive Metastatic Disease

Between 15 and 20 percent of breast cancers make too much of the HER2 proteininfo-icon, also known as human epidermal growth factor receptor 2info-icon.

HER2 triggers rapid cellinfo-icon division and growth. With too many receptors, breast cancer cells pick up too many growth signals and start growing too often and too fast. HER2-positive cancers tend to be more aggressiveinfo-icon than HER2-negative cancers, but targeting the protein has opened up new treatment options.

You may be familiar with trastuzumab (Herceptin), a common targeted therapyinfo-icon for both metastaticinfo-icon and early-stage breast cancerinfo-icon. A number of other treatments are FDAinfo-icon approved for metastatic HER2-positive disease. 

They are:

Targeted Therapy for Hormone-Positive Metastatic Disease

There are also targeted therapies available for metastaticinfo-icon breast cancers that are HER2-negative and hormone receptor-positive. They include:

mTORinfo-icon (Mammalian Target of Rapamycin) Inhibitors

mTOR inhibitors are a type of targeted therapyinfo-icon that stops cancer cells from dividing. They may also block the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. There is one FDAinfo-icon approved mTOR inhibitor available

CDK 4/6 Inhibitors

Cyclin-dependent kinase 4/6 inhibitors target two specific enzymes, called kinases, that help tumorinfo-icon cells grow and divide. There is one FDA approved CDK4/6 inhibitor, and others are being studied

Clinicalinfo-icon trials play an important role in discovering new medicines. We encourage you to talk with your doctor about open clinical trials that may be available to you. You can also visit our section on Clinical Trials and Research Studies for more information.

August 31, 2015
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