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As we have learned more about the gene changes that cause cancer, researchers have been able develop newer drugs that are aimed right at these changes. These targeted drugs do not work the same as standard chemo drugs. They often have different and less severe side effects.

Most of the targeted drugs used to treat breast cancer target HER2/neu. In some patients, their breast cancer cells have too much of this protein. Certain drugs target this protein, stopping it from causing breast cancer cell growth.

Other targeted drugs used to treat breast cancer help hormone therapy drugs work better in treating breast cancer that is hormone receptor-positive.

For more information about targeted therapy drugs to treat breast cancer, see the Breast Cancer detailed guide.

Last Medical Review: 09/09/2014
Last Revised: 01/14/2016