What is the role of drug treatment for breast cancer?

Updated: Feb 04, 2021
  • Author: Pavani Chalasani, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: John V Kiluk, MD, FACS  more...
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HER2-targeted therapies have been investigated in combination with angiogenesis inhibitors, with promising results. HER2 overexpression is associated with an increase in VEGF levels in primary breast cancers. Dual blockade by antiangiogenic/HER2 agents (eg, neratinib) targeting HER2, and EGFR pathways produces greater inhibition of human breast cancer cell lines. [1]

In patients receiving adjuvant aromatase inhibitor therapy for breast cancer who are at high risk for fracture, the monoclonal antibody denosumab or either of the bisphosphonates zoledronic acid and pamidronate may be added to the treatment regimen to increase bone mass. These agents are given along with calcium and vitamin D supplementation.

See Treatment and Medication for more detail.


Two selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), tamoxifen and raloxifene, are approved for reduction of breast cancer risk in high-risk women. Prophylactic mastectomy is an option for women found to be at extremely elevated risk.

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