Chemotherapy is a common treatment used to kill cancer cells via medicines in the blood stream. Chemotherapy is often used in conjunction with other treatments, such as radiation, surgery, and targeted drug therapy.

Targeted Drug Therapy

Targeted drug therapy is a newer treatment. It uses drugs that zero in on abnormalities in cancer cells.

Bevacizumab (Avastin)

Bevacizumab disables tumor growth by preventing it from creating a new blood supply. Research has shown that bevacizumab can help people with advanced lung cancer when it was used in combination with chemotherapy. It is approved for advanced and recurrent non-small cell lung cancer. Side effects include high blood pressure, blood clots, and bleeding.

Erlotinib (Tarceva)

Erlotinib blocks the chemicals that signal cancer cells to grow and divide. Erlotinib is also used for advanced and recurring non-small cell carcinoma for people who haven’t been helped by chemotherapy.

Gefitinib (Iressa)

Gefitinib is a pill used to treat non-small cell lung cancer when other chemotherapy fails. It is classified as an antineoplastic and works by inhibiting a naturally occurring substance that might help cancer cells multiply.


Crizotinib is a lung cancer drug that is expected to go to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for approval in 2011. In clinical trials, the drug shrank lung cancer tumors in patients with a certain genetic abnormality. It is part of a continuing research and drug manufacturing into genetic-specific triggers that fuel cancer growth.