Colo-rectal Cancer Management - Biological Therapy

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Written by Dr. Anitha Paderla, MBBS | Medically Reviewed by Dr. Sunil Shroff, MBBS, MS, FRCS (UK), D. Urol (Lond) on Apr 06, 2016
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Colo-rectal Cancer Management - Biological Therapy

Biological therapy causes fewer side effects than chemotherapy drugs.

Cancer cells are different from normal cells. Biological or Targeted therapies make use of this principle to attack cancer cells. Because of this, they should cause fewer side effects than chemotherapy drugs.

The medications used in this therapy are:
  • Cetuximab
  • Panitumumab
  • Bevacizumab
Cetuximab was the first targeted therapy approved for treating colorectal cancer. It is a man-made protein called a monoclonal antibody. It specifically attacks the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), a molecule that often appears in high amounts on the surface of cancer cells, thereby causing shrinkage of the tumor. Panitumumab also acts in a similar way.

Bevacizumab is another monoclonal antibody, approved for first-line use against metastatic colorectal cancer. It is used along with chemotherapy drugs. This antibody is directed against vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a protein that helps tumors form new blood vessels.

Clinical trials are in progress to study different combinations of chemotherapy agents and targeted therapies.

References:

1. http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/CRI_2x.asp?sitearea=LRN&dt=10

2. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/colon-and-rectal

3. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/colorectalcancer.html



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