Targeted therapy uses drugs to make it hard for cancer cells to grow or spread. For breast cancer, these drugs target the HER2 protein. HER2 is a part of some breast cancer cells that help it grow and spread. The drugs block this protein and slow or stop the growth and spread of cancer. Targeted therapy drugs include:
Not all breast cancers have HER2. It is found in about 2 in 20 breast cancers. This type of breast cancer is often very aggressive.
Targeted therapy may be used alone or with other treatments.
Side Effects and Management
Targeted therapy may cause:
- Skin rash
- Low blood counts, which can lead to anemia or neutropenia
- Rapid heartbeat—tachycardia
- Trouble breathing
- Heart failure
- Heart muscle damage—cardiomyopathy
There are many ways to manage these and other problems. Talk to your care team as soon as these appear so they can be better controlled.
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
- Review Date: 12/2018 -
- Update Date: 03/11/2019 -