Targeted therapy is sometimes used to treat pancreatic cancer. It uses drugs to target specific molecules (such as proteins) on the surface of cancer cells. These molecules help send signals that tell cells to grow or divide. By targeting these molecules, the drugs stop the growth and spread of cancer cells while limiting harm to normal cells. Targeted therapy may also be called molecular targeted therapy.
Targeted therapy may be used as a primary treatment for metastatic and recurrent pancreatic cancer. It is often given along with chemotherapy.
Your healthcare team will consider your personal needs to plan the drugs, doses and schedules of targeted therapy. You may also receive other treatments.
The most common targeted therapy drugs used to treat pancreatic cancer is erlotinib (Tarceva). It is commonly used in combination with gemcitabine (Gemzar).
Erlotinib targets the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) protein on cancer cells.
Details on specific drugs change quite regularly. Find out more about sources of drug information and where to get details on specific drugs.