Targeted therapies for breast cancer work by targeting specific cell receptors that help cancer cells grow. They act differently on the various breast cancer subtypes, which are classified based on their hormone receptors.

These medications have a higher level of specificity than other types of anticancer treatments, such as chemotherapy. This means their actions in cancer cells and the rest of the body are unique, and they often cause fewer side effects.

The following table lists subtypes of breast cancer and available targeted therapies:

Breast cancer subtypeTargeted therapies available
HER2-positivemonoclonal antibodies, antibody-drug conjugates, kinase inhibitors
hormone receptor-positivecyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) inhibitors, mTOR inhibitors, PI3K inhibitors, antibody-drug conjugates
BRCA gene mutationsPARP inhibitors
triple-negativeantibody-drug conjugates

This interactive treatment guide explores the ways some targeted therapies for metastatic breast cancer work within the body, including their effects on cancer cells and the body overall.