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As researchers have learned more about the changes in cells that cause cancer, they have been able develop newer drugs that are aimed at these changes. Targeted drugs do not work the same as standard chemotherapy (chemo) drugs (which are described in the section about chemotherapy). They tend to focus on killing the cancer cells and cause less damage to normal tissues. And they often have different, and less severe, side effects.

Like chemo, these drugs enter the bloodstream and travel through the body. This makes them useful against cancers that have spread to distant organs.

Sorafenib (Nexavar®) is a targeted drug that can be used to treat advanced liver cancer. It is also being studied to see if it could help for earlier stage disease.

Last Medical Review: 11/19/2014
Last Revised: 02/23/2016