Targeted Therapies

Targeted therapies are drugs that block the growth of cancer by interfering with the molecules involved in tumor growth and spread.  Most targeted therapies are either small-molecule drugs (drugs that attack proteins inside cancer cells) or monoclonal antibodies (drugs that attack proteins outside of cancer cells or on cell surface.)

Targeted therapy attacks specific proteins that occur more frequently on or in cancer cells than normal cells. Targeted therapies have been shown to be helpful in patients with stage IV colorectal cancer patients, but not in patients with stage III colorectal cancer.

For more information about Targeted Therapies, visit the National Cancer Institute.

Common Chemotherapy & Targeted Therapies

Brand Name
Generic Name
Avastin ®Bevacizumab
Eloxatin ®Oxaliplatin
Campostar™ Irinotecan
Stivarga ®Regorafenib
Leucovorin™Folinic Acid
Efudex™5-FU or fluorouracil

Common Targeted Therapies

  • Bevacizumab (Avastin®) a monoclonal antibody used to block the growth and development of blood vessels
  • Ziv-aflibercept (Zaltrap®) a recombinant fusion protein used to block blood vessel development
  • Cetuximab (Erbitux®) a monoclonal antibody to inhibits cell growth for patients without a KRAS or NRAS mutation
  • Panitumumab (Vectibix®) a monoclonal antibody to inhibit cell growth for patients without a KRAS or NRAS mutation
  • Regorafenib (Stivarga®) a small molecule drug to inhibit cell growth by interfering with the internal workings of the cell.

Most patients with stage IV colorectal cancer receive a combination of FOLFOX and bevacizumab (Avastin®) as their first-line treatment. If the cancer continues to grow, additional treatment will depend on many variables such as KRAS and NRAS status, patient preference, and so on.

You and your doctor will work together to determine the best treatment plan for you, which may include a clinical trial. 



Content medically-reviewed by members of the Fight Colorectal Cancer Medical Advisory Board, February 2014


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