- How are soft tissue sarcomas treated?
- Surgery for soft tissue sarcomas
- Radiation therapy for soft tissue sarcomas
- Chemotherapy for soft tissue sarcomas
- Targeted therapy for soft tissue sarcoma
- Clinical trials for soft tissue sarcomas
- Complementary and alternative therapies for soft tissue sarcomas
- Treatment of soft tissue sarcomas, by stage
- More treatment information for soft tissue sarcomas
Targeted therapy for soft tissue sarcoma
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.
At this time, pazopanib (Votrient®), is the only targeted therapy drug approved to treat soft tissue sarcoma. It blocks several cellular enzymes called tyrosine kinases that are important for cell growth and survival. In a study of patients with advanced soft tissue sarcomas that had been treated with chemotherapy, pazopanib stopped the cancers from growing for an average of about 3 months longer than the patients given a sugar pill. So far, though, this drug hasn’t been shown to help patients live longer. This drug is taken in pill form, once a day.
Common side effects include high blood pressure, nausea, diarrhea, headaches, low blood cell counts, and liver problems. In some patients this drug causes lab test results of liver function to become abnormal, but it also rarely leads to severe liver damage that can be life threatening. Problems with bleeding, clotting, and wound healing can occur, as well. This drug also rarely causes a problem with the heart rhythm or even a heart attack. If you are taking pazopanib, your doctor will monitor your heart with EKGs as well as check your blood tests to check for liver or other problems.
Last Medical Review: 10/02/2012
Last Revised: 01/17/2013