March 01, 2023
Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer among women around the world. It is a disease that affects breast tissues and can be life-threatening if left untreated. In recent years, targeted therapy has emerged as a powerful tool in the fight against breast cancer. According to medical oncology, targeted therapy is a type of treatment that targets specific molecules or genes in cancer cells, which can help to slow or stop the growth and spread of the disease. But why is it being considered an effective treatment option for breast cancer? Let's have a look!
There are several different types of targeted therapy that are used to treat breast cancer, including monoclonal antibodies, tyrosine kinase inhibitors, and hormone therapy. The following are a few primary ways targeted therapy treats breast cancer:
Targeted therapy works by interrupting cell signaling pathways essential for the growth and survival of breast tissues or cells affected by cancer. These pathways are the primary communication networks cells use to communicate with each other and to control their own growth and division.
For instance, Trastuzumab (Herceptin) is a drug, which targets the HER2/neu receptor found on the surface of some breast cancer cells. By binding to this receptor, trastuzumab disrupts the HER2/neu signaling pathway, which can eventually slow or stop the growth of the abnormal cells.
Growth factors are molecules that signal cells to grow and divide, and cancer cells often have receptors for these molecules on their surface. By blocking these receptors, targeted therapy can prevent the affected cells or tissues in the breast from receiving the signals they need to grow and divide.
Bevacizumab (Avastin), a medicine used in targeted therapy, blocks the VEGF receptor found on the surface of some breast cancer cells. By binding to this receptor, bevacizumab prevents the cells from receiving signals they need to grow and divide.
Hormone therapy is used to target breast cancer cells that are sensitive to hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone. Using this technique, targeted therapy can help to slow or stop the growth and spread of the disease by blocking the effects of these hormones on the cancer cells.
Tamoxifen, used in targeted therapy, is a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM). This drug works by binding to the estrogen receptors found on the surface of some breast cancer cells. Therefore, it blocks the effects of estrogen on the affected cells and slows the growth and spread of the cancer.
However, there are many other drugs, and combination of drugs that are used in targeted therapy for breast cancer treatment, and the best treatment option depends on the individual case.
It targets specific molecules or genes in cancer cells, which can help to slow or stop the growth and spread of breast cancer. It means that targeted therapy can be more effective than chemotherapy, which can damage healthy cells as well as affected cells.
Targeted therapy is more precise, and it often causes fewer side effects than traditional chemotherapy. This can help individuals to maintain their normal activities and continue to work while undergoing treatment.
Studies have shown that targeted therapy can slow or stop the progression of breast cancer more effectively, which can lead to a longer life expectancy for individuals with the disease.
Targeted therapy targets specific molecules or genes in affected cells or tissues, which can help to slow or stop the growth and spread of the cancer. Hence, it can reduce the likelihood of the recurrence after treatment.
While there are many targeted therapies that have been approved for the treatment of breast cancer, not all of them are available in all cancer treatment centers or for all individuals. Additionally, some targeted therapies may be restricted to certain stages or subtypes of breast cancer.
Targeted therapy can be very expensive for breast cancer treatment. The cost of these drugs is often high, and many insurance companies may not cover the cost of the treatment. Thus, it can become a financial burden for both the patients and their caregivers.
Targeted therapy is often prescribed with other forms of cancer treatment. Therefore, the risk of adverse drug interaction is comparatively higher for this treatment option. It is crucial for individuals to inform their healthcare provider of all existing medications they are taking before starting targeted therapy.
Like other treatment procedures, targeted therapy can also weaken the immune system, making it more difficult for the body to fight off infections.
It can also have limitations in targeting certain subtypes of breast cancer. For instance, targeted therapy that targets a specific gene or protein may not be effective in individuals with cancer that does not have that gene or protein.
The rate of recurrence and survival after breast cancer treated with targeted therapy can vary depending on the stage and subtype of the cancer, as well as the individual's response to treatment. Studies have shown that targeted therapy can lower the risk of recurrence in certain subtypes of breast cancer, such as HER2-positive breast cancer.
In addition, targeted therapy can slow or stop the progression of the disease more effectively when combined with other treatment options. It can lead to a longer life expectancy for individuals with breast cancer. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that the addition of trastuzumab (Herceptin) to standard chemotherapy improved overall survival by 33% in women with HER2-positive breast cancer. Trastuzumab is a drug often used in targeted therapy for breast cancer treatment.
Targeted therapy is not suitable for all types of breast cancer, and the best treatment option depends on the individual case. Besides, targeted therapy is usually used in combination with other treatments, such as surgery and radiation therapy, to achieve the best outcome. Therefore, individuals considering targeted therapy for breast cancer should talk to their oncologist or breast cancer specialist for detailed information. It is crucial to know different types of targeted therapy that are available, their side effects, and their efficiency to make an informed decision about their treatment options. To get a detailed insight into targeted therapy and receive quality cancer care, contact Advanced Care Treatment Center and schedule an appointment with our physicians.