- How is ovarian cancer treated?
- Surgery for ovarian cancer
- Chemotherapy for ovarian cancer
- Targeted therapy for ovarian cancer
- Hormone therapy for ovarian cancer
- Radiation therapy for ovarian cancer
- Ovarian cancer clinical trials
- Ovarian cancer complementary and alternative therapies
- Treatment of invasive epithelial ovarian cancers, by stage
- Treatment for epithelial tumors of low malignant potential
- Treatment for germ cell tumors of the ovary
- Treatment for stromal tumors of the ovary, by stage
- More ovarian cancer treatment information
Targeted therapy for ovarian cancer
Targeted therapy is a newer type of cancer treatment that uses drugs or other substances to identify and attack cancer cells while doing little damage to normal cells. These therapies attack the cancer cells' inner workings − the programming that makes them different from normal, healthy cells. Each type of targeted therapy works differently, but all alter the way a cancer cell grows, divides, repairs itself, or interacts with other cells.
The targeted therapy drug that has been studied the most in ovarian cancer is bevacizumab (Avastin®). This drug helps block the signal that cancer cells send out to cause new blood vessels to form to nourish new tumors. In studies, bevacizumab has been shown to shrink or slow the growth of advanced ovarian cancers. Trials to see if bevacizumab works even better when given along with chemotherapy have shown good results in terms of shrinking (or stopping the growth of) tumors. But it has not yet been shown to help women live longer. Also, there have been problems with patients developing holes in the bowel wall (perforations) during treatment. Although this complication is rare, it can be fatal.
Bevacizumab isn’t approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat ovarian cancer, but it has been approved to treat other cancers. It may be a treatment option for some women.
Other targeted therapy drugs are being studied.
Our document Targeted Therapy has more information about these kinds of drugs. If you’d like more information on a drug used in your treatment or a specific drug mentioned in this section, see our Guide to Cancer Drugs , or call us with the names of the medicines you’re taking.
Last Medical Review: 08/05/2014
Last Revised: 08/11/2014