What is targeted therapy?

Targeted therapy uses drugs to find and attack cancer cells. There are many different types of targeted therapy. Each type targets something in or around the cancer cell that is helping it grow and survive.

We have more information about these types of targeted therapy:

A targeted therapy can belong to more than one of these groups. For example, a monoclonal antibody may also block cancer cell growth. So it may also be called a cancer growth inhibitor.

Some types of targeted therapy are also an immunotherapy. We have more information about immunotherapy.

If you know the name of the treatment you are looking for, you can use our alphabetical list of targeted and immunotherapy drugs to find it. You can find more information about:

  • what the treatment is
  • how it is given
  • possible side effects.

How targeted therapies work

This animation shows how targeted therapies work and what effect they have on the body.

About our cancer information videos

How targeted therapies work

This animation shows how targeted therapies work and what effect they have on the body.

About our cancer information videos

Back to Targeted therapy explained

Angiogenesis inhibitors

Angiogenesis inhibitors are drugs that make it difficult for a tumour to develop a blood supply.

Cancer growth inhibitors

Cancer growth inhibitors are drugs that block signals that tell cancer cells to develop or divide.

Monoclonal antibodies

Monoclonal antibodies attach to receptors on the surface of cancer cells or other cells in the body.