Health A-Z

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What It's Used For

Different biological response modifiers are currently being used against many different types of cancer.

Interferons have been used to treat:

  • Kidney cancer

  • Kaposi's sarcoma

  • Melanoma

  • Certain types of leukemia and lymphoma

  • Chronic hepatitis B and C

Interleukin-2 (IL-2) may be effective for kidney cancer and advanced melanoma.

Rituximab (Rituxan) is a monoclonal antibody. It is used to treat a type of lymphoma. This treatment is also used for rheumatoid arthritis that is not responding to other agents.

Other monoclonal antibody treatments include:

  • Abatacept (Orencia) for rheumatoid arthritis

  • Trastuzumab (Herceptin) for breast cancer

Anti-TNF therapy inhibits the production of tumor necrosis factor. It is one of the most effective treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and other inflammatory diseases when conventional drugs fail.

Anti-TNF medications include:

  • Adalimumab (Humira)

  • Infliximab (Remicade)

  • Etanercept (Enbrel)

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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