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.