Targeted therapy, also called biological therapy, is the name given to a group of drugs that block the growth and spread of cancer.
They target and interfere with processes in the cells that help cancer grow.
The type of targeted therapy you’re offered will depend on the features of your breast cancer.
Some people have targeted therapy after surgery to reduce the chances of their breast cancer coming back.
Sometimes targeted therapy is given before surgery to shrink a larger cancer before it’s removed.
Targeted therapies can also be given if breast cancer has come back or spread to another part of the body.
The most commonly used targeted therapy for breast cancer is trastuzumab.
It’s used to treat breast cancer that is HER2 positive.
Other targeted therapy drugs
Other common targeted therapy drugs for HER2 positive breast cancer include:
- Neratinib (Nerlynx)
- Pertuzumab (Perjeta)
- Trastuzumab deruxtecan (Enhertu)
- Trastuzumab emtansine (Kadcyla)
Denosumab (Xgeva) is a targeted therapy used for treating secondary breast cancer in the bone.
Other targeted therapy drugs not routinely available on the NHS include PARP inhibitors, lapatinib (Tyverb) and bevacizumab (Avastin).
Like any treatment, targeted therapies can cause side effects.
The side effects will depend on which targeted therapy drug you’re having.
Side effects are listed on our individual targeted therapy drugs pages – use the links above to find out more.