Classes of Breast Cancer Drugs
- Classes of Drugs Used to Treat Breast Cancer
- SERMs (selective estrogen-receptor modulators):
- Aromatase inhibitors:
- Biologic response modifiers:
- Classes of Chemotherapy Drugs Used to Treat Breast Cancer
- Chemotherapy drugs—anthracyclines:
- Chemotherapy drugs—taxanes:
- Chemotherapy drugs—alkylating agents:
- Drugs Used to Treat Bone Metastases
|Anthracyclines||Deform DNA structure of cancer cells||Adriamycin (doxorubicin) Ellence (epirubicin)|
|Taxanes||Prevent cancer cells from dividing||Taxol (paclitaxel)
|Alkylating Agents||Target DNA of cancer cells||Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide)|
When breast cancer spreads past the breast and axillary (armpit) lymph nodes, it often spreads first to the bone. These breast cancer tumors in the bone are called "bone metastases." As advanced breast cancer dissolves portions of bone, a variety of problems can occur. Bone metastases can cause pain, decreased activity, and potentially severe problems such as fractures. Other complications that can arise from bone metastases include the surgical treatment for fractures, hypercalcemia (abnormally high levels of calcium), and spinal cord compression (vertebral damage due to pressure on the spinal cord). A class of drugs called bisphosphonates can beneficial for breast cancer patients whose cancer has spread to the bone.
Bisphosphonates are currently used to help treat osteoporosis, a degenerative bone disease affecting mainly post-menopausal women. In patients with osteoporosis, the bone loses a significant portion of its density, greatly increasing the risk of serious fractures.
Types of bisphosphonates that may be helpful in treating bone metastases include:
- Didronel (generic name, etidronate)
- Bonefos, Clostoban, Loron, Ostac (generic name, clodronate)
- Skelid (generic name, tiludronate)
- Fosamax (generic name, alendronate)
- Zometa (generic name, zoledronate)
Click here for profiles of individual breast cancer drugs.
Updated: November 12, 2007