- How are basal and squamous skin cancers treated?
- Surgery for basal and squamous cell skin cancers
- Other forms of local treatment for basal and squamous cell skin cancers
- Radiation therapy for basal and squamous cell skin cancers
- Systemic chemotherapy for basal and squamous cell skin cancers
- Targeted therapy for basal and squamous cell skin cancers
- Clinical trials for basal and squamous skin cell cancers
- Complementary and alternative therapies for basal and squamous cell skin cancers
Targeted therapy for basal and squamous cell skin cancers
Doctors have found some of the gene changes that make skin cancer cells different from normal cells, and they have begun to create drugs that attack these changes. These targeted drugs work differently from standard chemotherapy (chemo) drugs. They may have less severe side effects.
An example of a targeted drug is vismodegib (ErivedgeTM), which can be used to treat some advanced or recurrent basal cell skin cancers. It is very rare for basal cell cancers to reach an advanced stage, but when they do, these cancers can be hard to treat. Vismodegib is a pill, taken once a day. It has been shown to help shrink some tumors, although it’s not yet clear if it helps people live longer.
Side effects can include muscle spasms, joint pain, hair loss, fatigue, problems with taste, poor appetite and weight loss, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation. Vismodegib can also cause women to stop having their periods for a time. This drug should not be taken by women who are pregnant or could become pregnant.
Last Medical Review: 09/18/2012
Last Revised: 01/17/2013