Systemic Therapy for Breast Cancer

The medical oncologists at Fox Chase Cancer Center are regional and national leaders in the treatment of breast cancer. As part of the multidisciplinary team, your medical oncologist will help to determine your personalized treatment plan, which may include systemic therapies such as targeted therapy, immunotherapy or chemotherapy, either as standard of care or as part of a clinical trial. Systemic therapy may be given before or after surgery and may also be recommended to patients who are diagnosed after the cancer has spread to other parts of the body (metastatic cancer).


Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapeutic drugs travel through the bloodstream to destroy cancer cells throughout the body that have migrated from the breast tumor. Chemotherapy is given in an outpatient setting, either orally or intravenously, and usually in cycles. Medical oncologists at Fox Chase may prescribe chemotherapy drugs alone or in combination with other drugs to get the best outcome for you.

Oncotype DX™ genomic testing is available to select patients with early stage breast cancer. Results allow Fox Chase physicians to determine whether you need chemotherapy and if so, which combinations may be right for you. In addition, it predicts the chances of your breast cancer coming back.

Hormone therapy

Hormone therapy, sometimes called "anti-estrogen therapy,” is used to reduce the risk of hormone receptor-positive breast cancer from recurring or a new breast cancer from developing.

Targeted therapy

Targeted therapy uses monoclonal antibodies to deliver drugs, toxins or radioactive material directly to the cancer cells. Many monoclonal antibodies are used in cancer therapy. Each one recognizes a different protein on a variety of cancer cells.