Risk Management & Treatment

Targeted therapies used to treat cancer

Targeted therapies can be effective treatments, but they often only work for a select group of people whose tumors express certain features. Increasingly, oncologists are turning to tumor biomarker tests to determine which patients are more or less likely to benefit from these therapies. 

Targeted therapies are used to treat a portion of patients for almost every type of cancer. The use of targeted therapies for treatment and the choice of agent chosen vary by cancer type, stage and situation. Many of the available targeted therapies are used for advanced or metastatic cancers. Visit the Cancer Treatment by Cancer Type section for more information on targeted therapies for a specific type of cancer.

The following are common targeted therapies for the cancer types listed below. For information on PARP inhibitors, visit our dedicated PARP Inhibitor section. This is not a complete list of all targeted therapies or indications. Speak with your doctor about other biomarker tests and treatments which may be available.


Table of common targeted therapies

Targeted therapy Cancer type Indication Biomarker Type of     agent
Afinitor
(everolimus)
Metastatic breast cancer Combined with exemestane for postmenopausal women with advanced HR-positive,
HER2­-negative breast cancer which progressed with letrozole or anastrozole
ER/PR-positive
and Her2-negative
MTOR inhibitor (type of kinase inhibitor)
Pancreatic neuro-endocrine tumors (PNET)  Progressive neuroendocrine tumors of pancreatic origin (PNET) No biomarker required MTOR inhibitor (type of kinase inhibitor)
Avastin
(bevacizumab)
Stage 2-4 ovarian,
fallopian tube or primary peritoneal  cancer

Combined with Lynparza (olaparib) for first-line, maintenance therapy for platinum-sensitive cancer

Homologous Recombination
Deficiency (HRD)
testing

Blocks vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)
Stage 3-4 ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer Combined with chemotherapy, followed by Avastin as a single agent following initial surgical resection No biomarker required      Blocks vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)
Recurrent ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer Combined with chemotherapy for platinum-resistant recurrent disease who received no more than 2 prior chemotherapy regimens No biomarker required Blocks vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)
Recurrent ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer Combined with chemotherapy, followed by Avastin as a single agent, for platinum-sensitive recurrent diesase No biomarker required Blocks vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)
Metastatic colorectal cancer Combined with intravenous 5-fluorouracil-based chemotherapy for first-, or second-line treatment No biomarker required Blocks vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)
Metastatic colorectal cancer Combined with chemotherapy for second-line treatment in patients who have progressed on a first-line Avastin-containing regimen No biomarker required Blocks vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)
Braftovi
(encorafenib)
Metastatic colorectal cancer Combined with cetuximab, for the treatment of adult patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC)

BRAF V600E tumor mutation 

BRAF inhibitor (a type of kinase inhibitor)
Metastatic melanoma Combined with Mektovi (binimetinib), for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma

BRAF V600E or V600K tumor mutation

BRAF inhibitor (type of kinase inhibitor)
Cotellic
(cobimetinib)
Metastatic melanoma Combined with Zelboraf (vemurafenib) for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma  BRAF V600E or V600K tumor mutation BRAF inhibitor (type of kinase inhibitor)
Cyramza
(ramucirumab)
Metastatic colorectal cancer Combined with FOLFIRI chemotherapy, for treatment after disease progression on, or after prior therapy with bevacizumab, oxaliplatin, and a fluoropyrimidine No biomarker required Blocks vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)
Erbitux
(cetuximab)
Metastatic colorectal cancer Combined with FOLFIRI for first-line treatment, or combined with irinotecan for cancers that no longer respond to irinotecan-based chemotherapy or as a single agent in patients who have progressed after oxaliplatin- and irinotecan-based chemotherapy EGFR positive and KRAS mutation negative Blocks epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)
Herceptin
(trastuzumab) 
Breast cancer The treatment of Her2-positive breast cancer Her2 overexpression (Her2-positive) Antibody targeting Her2 receptors
Ibrance
(palbociclib)
or
Verzenio (abemaciclib)
Metastatic breast cancer Combined with an aromatase inhibitor as treatment of HR-positive, HER2-negative
advanced cancer  as initial endocrine-based therapy in postmenopausal women or in men

ER/PR-positive and Her2-negative

CDK4/6 inhibitor
Metastatic breast cancer Combined with fulvestrant as treatment of HR-positive, HER2-negative advanced cancer in postmenopausal women or in men with disease progression following endocrine therapy ER/PR-positive and Her2-negative CDK4/6 inhibitor
Kadcyla
(trastuzumab emtansine)
Metastatic breast cancer Treatment of patients with HER2-positive cancer who previously received trastuzumab and chemotherapy, separately or in combination. Patients should have either received therapy for metastatic disease, or developed disease recurrence during or within six months of completing adjuvant therapy Her2 overexpression (Her2-positive) Antibody targeting Her2 receptors
Breast cancer Adjuvant treatment of patients with HER2-positive early breast cancer who have residual
invasive disease after neoadjuvant taxane and trastuzumab-based treatment
Her2 overexpression (Her2-positive) Antibody targeting Her2 receptors
Kisqali
(ribociclib)
Metastatic breast cancer Combined with an aromatase inhibitor for the treatment of pre/perimenopausal or
postmenopausal women with HR-positive, HER2-negative cancer, as initial
hormone based therapy
ER/PR-positive and Her2-negative CDK4/6 inhibitor
Metastatic breast cancer Combined with fulvestrant for the treatment of postmenopausal women with HR-positive,
HER2-negative cancer, as initial hormone based therapy. 
ER/PR-positive and Her2-negative CDK4/6 inhibitor

Lenvima
(lenvatinib)

Advanced endometrial cancer Combined with pembrolizumab, for the treatment of patients with advanced endometrial carcinoma that is not microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) or mismatch repair deficient (dMMR), who have disease progression following prior systemic therapy and are not candidates for curative surgery or radiation Tumor is not MSI-H/dMMR Tyrosine kinase inhibitor
Mekinist (trametinib) Metastatic melanoma As a single agent and in combination with dabrafenib for the treatment of unresectable or metastatic melanoma  BRAF V600E or V600K tumor mutation MEK inhibitor
(type of kinase inhibitor)
Melanoma Combined with Taflinar (dabrafenib) as adjuvant treatment of patients with melanoma and involvement of lymph node(s), following complete resection BRAF V600E or V600K tumor mutation MEK inhibitor
(type of kinase inhibitor)
Mektovi (binimetinib) Metastatic melanoma Combined with Braftovi (encorafenib), for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma  BRAF V600E or V600K tumor mutation MEK inhibitor
(type of kinase inhibitor)
  
Perjeta (pertuzumab)
Breast cancer Combined with Herceptin (trastuzumab) and docetaxel as neoadjuvant treatment of patients with HER2-positive, locally advanced, inflammatory, or early stage breast cancer Her2 overexpression (Her2-positive) Antibody targeting Her2 receptors
Phesgo (pertuzumab, trastuzumab combined injection) Breast cancer

Prior to surgery (neoadjuvant treatment) when the tumor is greater than 2 cm in diameter
or node-positive or after surgery (adjuvant treatment) for early breast cancer that has a
high likelihood of coming back

Her2 overexpression (Her2-positive) Antibody targeting Her2 receptors
Piqray 
(alpelisib)
Metastatic breast cancer Combined with fulvestrant for the treatment of postmenopausal women, and men,
with HR-positive, HER2-negative advanced or metastatic breast cancer,
ER/PR-positive, Her2-negative
PIK3CA tumor mutation
PIK3 kinase inhibitor
Stivarga (regorafenib) Metastatic colorectal cancer For cancer that has been previously treated with fluoropyrimidine-, oxaliplatin- and irinotecan-based chemotherapy, an antiVEGF therapy, and, if KRAS and NRAS mutation negative, an anti-EGFR therapy No biomarker needed Multi-target kinase inhibitor
Sutent
(sunitinib malate)
Unresectable, locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic neuro-endocrine tumors (PNET)  For treatment of progressive, well-differentiated pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (pNET) No biomarker needed Multi-target kinase inhibitor
Tafinlar
(dabrafenib)
Metastatic melanoma As a single agent for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma BRAF V600E  tumor mutation BRAF inhibitor (type of kinase inhibitor)
Metastatic melanoma Combined with Mekinist (trametinib) for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma  BRAF V600E or V600K tumor mutation BRAF inhibitor (type of kinase inhibitor)
Melanoma Combined with Mekinist (trametinib) as adjuvant treatment of patients with melanoma and involvement of lymph node(s), following complete resection BRAF V600E or V600K tumor mutation BRAF inhibitor (type of kinase inhibitor)
Tarceva (erlotinib) metastatic pancreatic cancer First-line therapy used in combination with gemcitabine No biomarker required EGFR inhibitor
Trodelvy (sacituzumab govitecan-hziy) Metastatic breast cancer For metastatic breast cancer that progressed, recurred or did not respond to at least two previous lines of treatment Triple-negative (ER/PR-negative, Her2-negative) Targeted chemotherapy (chemo attached to antibody found in TNBC)
Tukysa 
(tucatinib)
Metastatic breast cancer Combined with trastuzumab and capecitabine for treatment of metastatic breast cancer
including patients with brain metastases, who have received one or more prior
anti-HER2-based regimens in the metastatic setting
Her2 overexpression (Her2-positive) Anti-Her2 kinase inhibitor
Vectibix
(panitumumab)
Metastatic colorectal cancer Combined with FOLFOX for first-line treatment Negative for KRAS and NRAS tumor mutation Kinase inhibitor
Metastatic colorectal cancer As a single therapy following disease progression after prior treatment with fluoropyrimidine, oxaliplatin, and irinotecan-containing chemotherapy Negative for KRAS and NRAS tumor mutations Kinase inhibitor
Verzenio
(abemaciclib)
 
Metastatic breast cancer As a single agent for the treatment of HR-positive, HER2-negative advanced or
metastatic breast cancer with disease progression following endocrine therapy and prior chemotherapy in the metastatic setting.

ER/PR-positive and Her2-negative

CDK4/6 inhibitor
Vitrakvi (larotrectinib) Metastatic solid tumors For treatment in metastatic solid tumors where surgical resection is likely to result in severe morbidity, and  for which there are no satisfactory alternative treatments or the cancer progressed following treatment NTRK fusion Kinase inhibitor
Zaltrap
(ziv-aflibercept)
Metastatic colorectal cancer Combined with FOLFIRI chemotherapy, is indicated for patients with metastatic
colorectal cancer  that is resistant to or has progressed following an oxaliplatin-containing chemotherapy. 
No biomarker required Blocks vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)
Last updated August 06, 2020