Targeted Therapies

Key Points

  • Tumor testing shows if a lung cancer tumor has a certain change or mutation that is making it act abnormally.
  • Targeted therapies “target” these mutations in different ways.
  • These targeted lung cancer therapies are more specific and may have fewer side effects.

Take action

Talk to your doctor about getting your tumor tested to see if you are eligible for targeted therapies for lung cancer.

Lung cancer treatment that kills cancer cells can also affect normal cells. This can cause unwanted side effects. New lung cancer drugs called targeted therapies help reduce damage to healthy cells. They focus more on cancer cells by interrupting the way cancer cells function and grow. They attack specific targets on or in the tumor cells. Not every person is eligible for targeted therapies for lung cancer. Your doctor might order a special test of your tumor called a molecular test or biomarker test. Talk to your doctor about your testing options and treatment recommendations. Targeted therapy drugs work in a variety different ways. You can hear Dr. Edward Kim discuss how targeted therapy works in the Ask the Expert program.

Mutations all affect a different part of the complicated communication systems within and between cells. These mutations affect the division and growth of cells. Therapies exist to target some of these mutations. Some of the more common targeted lung cancer therapies include:

Lung cancer therapies are always changing. Talk to your doctor to determine if you are a candidate for targeted lung cancer therapies and joining a clinical trial for targeted therapy.

Ask your doctor if you are eligible for targeted therapies to treat lung cancer.

Click here to download a list of suggested questions.