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Biological therapies involve the use of living organisms, substances that come from living organisms or versions of those substances (created in a laboratory), to treat disease. These treatments interfere with the growth of cancer tumour cells. Biological therapy may also be referred to as “biotherapy” or “biological response modifiers”.

How it works

Biological therapies for breast cancer use substances that block the activity of a variety of proteins involved in cancer cell behaviour to prevent them from growing or spreading, or help the immune system to attach or destroy cancer cells. These therapies can further be classified as “immunotherapy” and “targeted therapy”.

Types of biological therapies:

  • Monoclonal antibodies find and bind to a specific antigen on a cancer cell to keep it from growing or spreading.

  • Tyrosine kinase inhibitors block specific enzymes that tell cancer cells to grow.


Who might benefit?

Biological therapy may be used in combination with chemotherapy or hormone therapies for patients who have early or advanced cancer (also known as metastatic breast cancer). Treatments may be appropriate for women who have HER2-positive breast cancer.