Nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer

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Targeted therapy for nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer

Targeted therapy is sometimes used to treat nasal cavity and paranasal sinus 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.

You may have targeted therapy to:

  • kill cancer cells
  • destroy cancer cells left behind after surgery and reduce the risk of the cancer recurring (called adjuvant therapy)

Your healthcare team will consider your personal needs to plan the drugs, doses and schedules of targeted therapy. You may also receive other treatments.

Targeted therapy drugs used for nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer

Cetuximab (Erbitux) is the most common targeted therapy used to treat cancer in the nasal cavity or paranasal sinuses. It is a monoclonal antibody that targets a receptor on the surface of cells called the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). EGFR sends signals to cells that allow them to grow and divide. Nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer cells often have too many EFGRs caused by gene mutations. Cetuximab blocks EGFR from working, which stops or slows the growth of cancer cells.

Cetuximab is given intravenously, once a week. It may be given at the same time as radiation therapy for early stage cancers. It may be combined with chemotherapy for advanced cancer in the nasal cavity or paranasal sinuses.

Information about specific cancer drugs

Details on specific drugs change quite regularly. Find out more about sources of drug information and where to get details on specific drugs.

Questions to ask about targeted therapy

Find out more about targeted therapy. To make the decisions that are right for you, ask your healthcare team questions about targeted therapy.

monoclonal antibody

A substance that can find and bind to a particular target molecule (antigen) on a cancer cell.

Monoclonal antibodies can interfere with a cell’s function or can be used to carry drugs, toxins or radioactive material directly to a tumour.