- How are cervical cancers and pre-cancers treated?
- Surgery for cervical cancers and pre-cancers
- Radiation therapy for cervical cancer
- Chemotherapy for cervical cancer
- Targeted therapy for cervical cancer
- Clinical trials for cervical cancer
- Complementary and alternative therapies for cervical cancer
- Treating pre-cancers and other abnormal Pap test results
- Treatment options for cervical cancer by stage
- Financial help for cervical cancer treatment
- More treatment information
Targeted therapy for cervical cancer
As researchers have learned more about the changes in cancer cells, they have been able to develop newer drugs that specifically target these changes. These targeted drugs work differently from standard chemotherapy (chemo) drugs and often have different side effects.
For tumors to grow, they must form new blood vessels to keep them nourished. This process is called angiogenesis. Some targeted drugs block this new blood vessel growth and are called angiogenesis inhibitors.
Bevacizumab (Avastin®) is an angiogenesis inhibitor that can be used to treat advanced cervical cancer. It is a monoclonal antibody (a man-made version of a specific immune system protein) that targets vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a protein that helps new blood vessels to form. It isn’t yet approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat cervical cancer, but it is approved to treat other cancers.
This drug is often used with chemo for a time. Then if the cancer responds, the chemo may be stopped and the bevacizumab given by itself until the cancer starts growing again.
The possible side effects of this drug are different from (and may add to) those of chemotherapy drugs. Some of these effects can be serious and include problems with bleeding, blood clots, and wound healing.
This drug is also being studied as a part of the treatment for earlier stage disease.
Our document Targeted Therapy has more information about the different kinds of drugs considered targeted therapy.
Last Medical Review: 04/11/2013
Last Revised: 08/15/2014