How targeted therapies can affect your diabetes

Targeted therapies (sometimes called biological therapies) can be used to stimulate the immune system, control the growth of cancer cells or overcome side effects of treatment. They are used to treat many different types of cancer.

There are several types of targeted therapy drugs. They can be given by tablet, injection or drip (infusion).

How targeted therapy can affect your diabetes

Some targeted therapy drugs may temporarily affect your blood sugar level. Depending on which drug you are taking, your blood sugar level may increase or decrease. While you are having the treatment, you may need to check your blood sugar levels more often. Sometimes, you may need to change your insulin or tablet dose. Your doctor or specialist nurse will help you with this.

Your blood sugar levels should return to normal once you stop having targeted therapy treatment.

The targeted therapy drug sunitinib (Sutent®) can lower your blood sugar.

The following targeted therapy drugs can increase your blood sugar:

  • bortezomib (Velcade®)
  • dabrafenib (Tafinlar®)
  • everolimus (Afinitor®)
  • interferon (IntronA®, Rogeron-A®)
  • nilotinib (Tasigna®)
  • nivolumab (OPDIVO®)
  • panitumumab (Vectibix®)
  • rituximab (Mabthera®)
  • temsirolimus (Torisel®).

If you don’t have diabetes, but develop any of its symptoms while having targeted therapy, talk to your doctor.