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Targeted and Immunotherapies
Read about cancer treatment options listed by gene mutation, type of cancer and type of treatment.

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Glossary on

and for Cancer

Targeted therapies and immunotherapies are mainly used to treat advanced or recurrent cancer. approved drugs are listed below. Clinical trials using these agents may also be available for treatment of cancer.


Immunotherapies are cancer treatments that help the body’s immune system detect and attack cancer cells. 

  • Immune checkpoint inhibitors are a type of  most often used to treat advanced/metastatic cancer that have MSI-H or dMMR; usually after other treatments have been tried.
    • Keytruda (pembrolizumab) may be used to treat patients with castration resistant cancer that is MSI-H or and have had one line of therapy affecting the whole body.
  • Cancer treatment vaccines are a type of that uses a patient’s own cancer cells to boost their immune system.
    • Provenge (sipuleucel-T) may be used to treat patients with prostate cancer whose disease has progressed aftger hormonal treatment who have either no or very minimal symptoms related to the cancer.

Targeted therapies

Targeted therapies are drugs that are designed to attack specific changes found in cancer cells. Several different targeted therapies are used to treat cancer. 

PARP inhibitors

PARP inhibitors are targeted therapies that were developed for, and work best in people with a or mutation. The following PARP inhibitors are used to treat mCRPC. 

  • The Talzenna () may be used as a treatment for mCRPC in people who have an found through genetic testing or tumor mutation found through tumor testing in , , , ATR, CDK12, , FANCA, , MRE11A, , , or .
  • The , Lynparza () may be used in combination with Zytiga and prednisone or prednisolone for the or later treatment of mCRPC in patients with an inherited or mutation (found through genetic testing) or tumor or mutation (found through tumor testing or ). 
  • The , Lynparza may be used to treat mCRPC after the cancer has progressed on the drugs Xtandi () or Zytiga () in people with an inherited mutation in , (found through genetic testing) or a tumor mutation in , , , , CDK12, CHEK1, , FANCL, , RAD51B, , , RAD54L (found through tumor testing).
  • The , () may be used to treat mCRPC, in people who have an in or (found through genetic testing) or a tumor mutation in or (found through tumor testing or ).
  • Akeega is a new drug that combines the , () with the hormone therapy, Zytiga. Akeega is used with prednisone to treat mCRPC in people who have an  or a tumor mutation in or (found through tumor testing or ).

Other targeted therapies

  • Pluvicto (lutetium Lu 177 vipivotide tetraxetan) is used to treat mCRPC for men previously treated with with hormone therapy with an androgen receptor inhibitor and taxane-based chemotherapy. 

Table of targeted and immunotherapies for  cancer

Name of drug Cancer Indication or genetic test Type of agent
( and acetate)
castration-resistant cancer (mCRPC) In combination with prednisone for or later treatment of mCRPC Inherited or tumor mutation in or based on FoundationOne tumor test  combined with a hormonal therapy
castration-resistant cancer (mCRPC) Combined with Zytiga and prednisone or prednisolone for or later treatment of mCRPC  in or  found through genetic testing or tumor or mutation found through tumor testing or .
For treatment of mCRPC which has progressed following treatment with Xtandi () or Zytiga () in or or tumor mutation one of
the following genes: , , , , , CDK12, , FANCL, , RAD51B, ,  RAD54

castration-resistant cancer (mCRPC) For treatment of mCRPC which has been treated with androgen receptor-directed therapy and a taxane-based chemotherapy Inherited or acquired (tumor) mutation in or
castration-resistant cancer (mCRPC) In combination with for mCRPC which has not yet been treated in the castration-resistant setting  Inherited or tumor mutation in one of the following genes: , , , ATR, CDK12, , FANCA, , MRE11A, , , or
Pluvicto (lutetium Lu 177 vipivotide tetraxetan) castration-resistant cancer (mCRPC) For treatment of mCRPC which has stopped responding or got worse after treatment with hormonal therapy using an androgen receptor inhibitor and taxane-based chemotherapy Imaging with a that looks for cancers with the marker PSMA Targeted radiation therapy
Provenge (sipuleucel-T) castration resistant cancer (mCRPC) For the treatment of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic castrate resistant cancer No needed Cancer vaccine
Keytruda (pembrolizumab) or unresectable For treatment of that have progressed after treatment and for which there are no other treatment options MSI-H ( High) or  ( Immune checkpoint inhibitor
Keytruda (pembrolizumab) or unresectable

For the treatment of that have progressed following prior treatment and for which there are no satisfactory alternative treatment options

High (TMB-H) Immune checkpoint inhibitor
Vitrakvi (larotrectinib) solid tumors For treatment in solid tumors where surgical resection is likely to result in severe , and  for which there are no satisfactory alternative treatments or the cancer progressed following treatment NTRK fusion Kinase inhibitor


Paying For Care
Paying For Care

Paying for cancer treatment

The majority of public and private health insurance plans are required to cover cancer diagnosis and treatment; copays, coinsurance and deductibles often apply. Patient costs and coverage for specific doctors, facilities or treatments may vary based on your health plan. Visit our section on Insurance and Paying for Care: Treatment  for more information, links to sample appeal letters and other resources. 

If you need information about finding an insurance plan, watch our video: Choosing Wisely: How to Pick Insurance Plans.

Some pharmaceutical companies have assistance programs that help cover the cost for their medications: 

Organizations that offer co-pay assistance:

Other resources:

  • The American Cancer Society provides information and resources on covering the cost of cancer care. Public assistance, such as Medicaid may be available if you are ineligible for other programs. 
  • Needy Meds: Assistance programs to help patients with cost of medications and other healthcare.
  • Triage Cancer offers tools and resources to help individuals cope with the financial aspects of a cancer diagnosis.

Open Clinical Trials
Open Clinical Trials

The following studies are looking at PARP inhibitors and similar agents for treating people with advanced  cancer.  

Other clinical trials for people with  cancer can be found here.

Last updated August 17, 2023