Biological therapies are newer medications than chemotherapy. They are sometimes recommended as an alternative treatment to chemotherapy for Lung cancer that has spread too far for surgery or radiotherapy to be effective. These are also called growth factor inhibitors because they work by disrupting the growth of the cancer cells.
Biological therapies are only suitable for people who have certain abnormal proteins in their cancerous cells. These abnormal proteins are usually detected by requesting special tests commonly called: EGFR mutation and ALK translocation. Doctors usually request these tests on the sample of cells already removed from the lung (biopsy) to determine whether these treatments are likely to be suitable.
Biological drugs are usually given orally once or twice a day. They have their own side effects. If you want to read more about specific biological drugs, please click on the following links: (links will open in a new window)
Drugs that may be suitable for patients with EGFR-mutated lung cancer:
Drugs that may be suitable for patients with ALK-translocated lung cancer: