Targeted therapy for small intestine cancer

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Targeted therapy uses drugs to target specific molecules (such as proteins) on cancer cells or inside them. These molecules help send signals that tell cells to grow or divide. By targeting these molecules, the drugs stop the growth and spread of cancer cells and limit harm to normal cells. Targeted therapy may also be called molecular targeted therapy.

Targeted therapy is sometimes used to treat small intestine adenocarcinoma that has spread to other parts of the body (metastasized). If you have targeted therapy, your healthcare team will use what they know about the cancer and about your health to plan the drugs, doses and schedules.

Neurotrophic tyrosine receptor kinase (NTRK) therapy

Neurotrophic tyrosine receptor kinase (NTRK) therapy is a type of targeted therapy that may be used for metastatic small intestine adenocarcinoma.

The neurotrophic tyrosine receptor kinase (NTRK) gene tells nerve cells to make a protein that helps them send information about certain bodily sensations. When part of the NTRK gene breaks off and joins with another gene, it is called an NTRK gene fusion. This change causes abnormal proteins called TRK fusion proteins, which may cause cancer cells to grow.

The following drugs may be used to treat metastatic small intestine adenocarcinoma with an NTRK gene fusion. They are given as pills.

  • larotrectinib (Vitrakvi)
  • entrectinib (Rozlytrek)

Based on specific genetic changes in your cancer, there may be other targeted therapies available through a clinical trial or a drug access program.

Side effects

Side effects of targeted therapy will depend mainly on the type of drug or combination of drugs, the dose, how it's given and your overall health. Tell your healthcare team if you have side effects that you think are from targeted therapy. The sooner you tell them of any problems, the sooner they can suggest ways to help you deal with them.

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about what side effects to expect from the targeted therapy drug you are taking.

Find out more about targeted therapy for small intestine cancer

Find out more about targeted therapy. To make the decisions that are right for you, ask your healthcare team questions about targeted therapy.

Details on specific drugs change regularly. Find out more about sources of drug information and where to get details on specific drugs.

Expert review and references

  • Shahid Ahmed , MD, FRCPC, PhD, FACP