Pancreatic Cancer

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Targeted Therapy

Biological therapies are new medicines that attack cancer cells based on their biological features. They are sometimes called targeted therapies because they target cancer cells rather than attacking all fast-growing cells the way conventional chemotherapy drugs do.

  • Exocrine pancreatic cancer: The drug erlotinib (Tarceva) may help fight this type of cancer. It targets a protein called epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) on cancer cells that prompts them to grow.
  • Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (NETs): The drugs everolimus (Afinitor) and sunitinib (Sutent) may be effective against NETs. Everolimus blocks a protein that prompts cells to divide and grow. Sunitinib is an anti-angiogenesis therapy. It stops the growth of blood vessels, which tumors need in order to grow. Sunitinib also targets other features of cancer cells.
These or other drugs may be important if you have cancer that cannot be removed surgically. Talk with your doctor about whether targeted therapies might be an option for you.