Therapeutic Index of Targeted Therapies and Conventional Cytotoxics

August 20, 2013
Grace Dy, MD

Grace Dy, MD, from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, discusses the therapeutic index of targeted therapies and conventional cytotoxics.

Grace Dy, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, discusses the therapeutic index of targeted therapies and conventional cytotoxics.

As the oncology community has learned over time, the idea that the therapeutic index of targeted therapies as a group is much better than cytotoxics may not be entirely true. Certain toxicities such as myelosuppression or hair loss may not be as common in patients treated with targeted therapies.

Clinical Pearls

Targeted therapies have shown that they can affect multiple organs in the body as some drugs inhibit targets found in normal tissues. This causes an entire spectrum of side effects that are difficult to anticipate. Targeted therapies make treatment much more interesting and challenging for a medical oncologist, Dy says.

  • The therapeutic index of targeted therapies as a group is not necessarily better than conventional cytotoxics
  • The targets of these therapies may be found in normal tissues and therefore affect multiple organs