DNA and its associated processes as targets for cancer therapy

Nat Rev Cancer. 2002 Mar;2(3):188-200. doi: 10.1038/nrc749.


DNA is the molecular target for many of the drugs that are used in cancer therapeutics, and is viewed as a non-specific target of cytotoxic agents. Although this is true for traditional chemotherapeutics, other agents that were discovered more recently have shown enhanced efficacy. Furthermore, a new generation of agents that target DNA-associated processes are anticipated to be far more specific and effective. How have these agents evolved, and what are their molecular targets?

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alkylation
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Alkylating / therapeutic use
  • Cross-Linking Reagents
  • DNA / drug effects*
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA, Neoplasm / drug effects*
  • DNA, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Alkylating
  • Cross-Linking Reagents
  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • DNA