Targeted therapy for cervical cancer
Targeted therapy is a drug treatment that attacks specific features of cancer cells to stop the cancer growing and spreading. It is used to treat cervical cancer that has spread to other parts of the body or has come back and cannot be treated by surgery or radiation therapy.
Cancers develop their own blood vessels to help them grow. This process is called angiogenesis. Some targeted therapy drugs known as angiogenesis inhibitors are designed to stop this process.
Bevacizumab is an angiogenesis inhibitor that can be used to treat advanced cervical cancer. It is given with chemotherapy every three weeks through a drip into a vein (infusion). The total number of infusions you receive will depend on how you respond to the drug.
The most common side effects of taking bevacizumab include high blood pressure, feeling tired and loss of appetite. Less common side effects include bleeding, blood clots and problems with wound healing. Rarely, bevacizumab has the potential to cause other more serious side effects, such as damage to the bowel (perforation) or a passage opening up between the vagina and another part of the body (fistula). Your doctor will discuss these possible side effects with you.
For more on this, see our general section on Targeted therapy.
Video: What are targeted therapy and immunotherapy?
Watch this short video to learn more about targeted therapy and immunotherapy
Podcast: Targeted Therapy and Immunotherapy
Dr Pearly Khaw, Lead Radiation Oncologist, Gynae-Tumour Stream, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Dr Deborah Neesham, Gynaecological Oncologist, The Royal Women’s Hospital and Frances Perry House, VIC; Kate Barber, 13 11 20 Consultant, VIC; Dr Alison Davis, Medical Oncologist, Canberra Hospital, ACT; Krystle Drewitt, Consumer; Shannon Philp, Nurse Practitioner, Gynaecological Oncology, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and The University of Sydney Susan Wakil School of Nursing and Midwifery, NSW; Dr Robyn Sayer, Gynaecological Oncologist Cancer Surgeon, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, NSW; Megan Smith, Senior Research Fellow, Cancer Council NSW; Melissa Whalen, Consumer.
We also thank the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title.
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