CCS adapting to COVID-19 realities to support Canadians during and after the pandemic
Targeted therapy for bladder cancer
Targeted therapy is sometimes used to treat bladder cancer. It uses drugs to target specific molecules (such as proteins) on cancer cells or inside them. 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 and limit harm to normal cells. Targeted therapy may also be called molecular targeted therapy.
The healthcare team will consider your personal needs to plan the drugs, doses and schedules of targeted therapy. You may also receive other treatments.
Some people with bladder cancer have mutated FGFR genes in the bladder cancer cells that can help them grow. Drugs that inhibit or block FGFR can help treat bladder cancer that has FGFR gene mutations.
Erdafitinib (Balversa) is an FGFR inhibitor that can be used to treat locally advanced or metastatic bladder cancer that has mutations in the FGFR2 or FGFR3 gene that doesn’t respond to chemotherapy.
Side effects can happen with any type of treatment for bladder cancer, but every person’s experience is different. Some people have many side effects. Other people have few or none at all.
Targeted therapy attacks cancer cells but doesn’t usually damage healthy cells, so there are usually fewer and less severe side effects than with chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can damage healthy cells along with cancer cells.
Side effects can happen any time during, immediately after or a few days or weeks after targeted therapy. Sometimes late side effects develop months or years after targeted therapy. Most side effects go away on their own or can be treated, but some side effects may last a long time or become permanent.
Side effects of targeted therapy will depend mainly on the type of drug or combination of drugs, the dose, how it’s given and your overall health. Some common side effects of targeted therapy for bladder cancer are:
- sore mouth
- dry mouth
- loss of appetite
- taste changes
- skin problems, including redness, itching and dryness
- muscle and joint pain
- low blood cell counts
- vision changes
Tell your healthcare team if you have these side effects or others you think might be from targeted therapy. The sooner you tell them of any problems, the sooner they can suggest ways to help you deal with them.
Information about specific cancer drugs
Details on specific drugs change regularly. Find out more about sources of drug information and where to get details on specific drugs.