Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy uses drugs that target specific genes and proteins, that contribute to cancer growth and survival, to fight cancer. tile

How does targeted therapy treat cancer?

Targeted therapies are drugs that target the growth of cells by targeting specific genes and proteins that make cancer cells grow.  These therapies are generally used more in treating stage IV (metastatic) colorectal cancer than earlier stages of disease.  

This video from explains how targeted therapies work to destroy cancer cells. 


How are targeted therapy and chemotherapy different?

Targeted therapy works differently than chemotherapy. Chemotherapy attacks rapidly dividing cells, while targeted therapies attack cancer-cell molecules specifically contributing to tumor growth and survival. 

Because targeted drugs specifically select cancer cells, their side effects tend to be less severe than other therapies. Your doctor may use a targeted therapy drug on its own, along with chemotherapy, or in combination with other targeted therapy drugs. 

How is this therapy given?

Many targeted therapy medications are given as an infusion intravenously through a vein (IV) every two to three weeks, depending on treatment schedule, and may be administered with chemotherapy. Other forms of targeted therapy drugs include oral medications, which can be taken at home by the patient.


Which targeted therapy is right for me?

Not all colorectal cancer is treated with the same kind of targeted therapy. Your biomarker profile will help your doctor determine which type is best for you. Biomarker testing is a very important part of determining the right treatment for your specific diagnosis.

Targeted therapies for colorectal cancer

There are several types of targeted therapy medications. Different drugs are used depending on the type of colorectal cancer you have.