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Treatment

 
Treatment

Chapter: 6 - Treatment

Subchapter: 10 - Targeted Therapy

In addition to systemic chemotherapy and hormone therapy, there are newer, more effective treatments that can attack specific cancer cells without harming normal cells. Currently, these targeted methods are commonly used in combination with traditional chemotherapy. However, targeted drugs often have less severe side effects than standard chemotherapy drugs.

Monoclonal Antibodies
One type of targeted therapy currently being studied is monoclonal antibodies. These laboratory-manufactured proteins bind with certain cancers.

Herceptin or Trastuzumab
Monoclonal antibody drugs such as Herceptin (also known as trastuzumab) and Lapatinib target HER2-positive tumors. If cancer cells are positive for the HER2/neu receptors, that means there is an overabundance of receptors on the cancer cell for the growth-stimulating HER2 protein.

The tumor acts almost like a magnet for growth hormones, and when the tumor cells connect with growth hormone cells, the cancer can quickly grow and multiply. Herceptin helps shrink these HER2-positive tumors by finding the cells, binding with them, and blocking the action of the receptor.

Bevacizumab
Another targeted therapy, Bevacizumab, prevents tumors from making new blood vessels that could feed the tumor, essentially cutting off the cancer cells from all nutrients.

As with all medical treatments, if you experience unusual changes in your health during targeted therapy, notify your doctor immediately.

Related Questions

  • Inna S Profile

    I'm 27.finished my 6 rounds of chemo.this Fri gonna start Herseptin.what to expect?for how long you took it?and what next?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 4 Patient
    almost 6 years 2 answers
    • Mimi Carroll Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Herceptin is generally given every 21 days for one year. Due to side effects I take 1/3 of dose weekly. Herceptin is usually well tolerated. You may get a headache and flu like symptoms or may be just fine. You will have your heart checked every 3-4 months while on herceptin.

      Comment
    • Leah Fortune Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Somebody will chime in

      Comment
  • Shiriey Horner Profile

    I am o herceptin sub cutaneous .have had 3 doses so far. I have swollen ankles and hands joint pain and muscle tightness and now started with runny eyes and stuffed nose. Has anyone else got these problems

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 6 years 2 answers
    • André Roberts Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      Yes. I had herceptin weekly for 6 months along with my chemo. Then I switched to every 3 weeks. I had a constant drippy nose and eyes. Felt achy. Like the flu. For 2 or 3 days. Be sure to tell your onc how you feel. Prayers to you.

      Comment
    • Mimi Carroll Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      If you are on 21 day dose they can switch to weekly.. Tell your oncologist your symptoms... S/He can help!

      Comment
  • patty pat Profile

    What is a grade 3 tumor?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 8 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Coco Smith Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      This depends on whether your laboratory is reporting using the English/Australian system often called the Nottingham Index or Bloom and Richardson VERSUS the American system.

      You did not say which country you were posting from.

      The answer above is correct for US and US based tumour rating...

      more

      This depends on whether your laboratory is reporting using the English/Australian system often called the Nottingham Index or Bloom and Richardson VERSUS the American system.

      You did not say which country you were posting from.

      The answer above is correct for US and US based tumour rating systems BUT in the Nottingham Index used in UK, Australia etc a Grade 3 means three individual scores of 1 [lowest risk] added together equals 3. Which under that system is the LOWEST score or the least aggressive form of cancer, not the more aggressive.

      Comment
    • sandy glisman Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I believe the grade is for agressiveness. 1. is mild, 2. moderate and 3. very agressive.

      Comment
  • Blair Jenkins Profile

    I was recently reading my pathology report and it said Triple Negative Breast Cancer grade 9 (3+3+3) on the nottingham scale - my tumor was about 6cm but had not spread to any lymph nodes - what is grade 9?

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since 2009
    over 8 years 2 answers
    • Janelle Strunk Profile
      anonymous
      Family Member or Loved One

      Hi Blair,

      I was curious about your question and did a bit of research. Here is the best answer I came up with. It was given by:

      Kevin R. Fox, MD, Assistant Director, Clinical Affairs and Associate Professor of Hematology/Oncology at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of...

      more

      Hi Blair,

      I was curious about your question and did a bit of research. Here is the best answer I came up with. It was given by:

      Kevin R. Fox, MD, Assistant Director, Clinical Affairs and Associate Professor of Hematology/Oncology at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, responds:

      The Nottingham histologic score is simply a scoring system to assess the "grade" of breast cancers.

      It is a total score based on 3 different sub-scores. The 3 sub-scores are assigned based on 3 components of how the breast cancer cells look under a microscope. (The details of these 3 components are not critical for you to understand). Each of the 3 components is assigned a sub-score of 1, 2, or 3, with 1 being best and 3 being worst. Once the 3 sub-scores are added, a Nottingham score is obtained: the minimum score possible is 3 (1+1+1) and the maximum possible is 9 (3+3+3).

      A histologic grade of III is assigned to any patient with a Nottingham score of 8 or 9. Grade I refers to Nottingham scores of 3, 4, and 5, while Grade II refers to Nottingham scores of 6 and 7.

      In the end, the Nottingham score and histologic grades are not very useful in the big picture, as they do not alter final overall treatment recommendations. High-score cancers tend to relapse more often than low-score cancers. Ultimately, however, we don't use the score in making clinical decisions.

      I hope that this helps clear up any confusion. I wish you the best.

      4 comments
    • Sarah Adams Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2010

      Do you have a family history? If yes, I suggest genetic testing for the BRCA gene mutation.

      1 comment

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