The cell cycle as a target for cancer therapy: basic and clinical findings with the small molecule inhibitors flavopiridol and UCN-01

Oncologist. 2002:7 Suppl 3:12-9. doi: 10.1634/theoncologist.7-suppl_3-12.


Many tumor types are associated with genetic changes in the retinoblastoma pathway, leading to hyperactivation of cyclin-dependent kinases and incorrect progression through the cell cycle. Small-molecule cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors are being developed as therapeutic agents. Of these, flavopiridol and UCN-01 are being explored in cancer patients in phase I and phase II clinical trials, both as single agents and in combination with conventional chemotherapeutic agents. The present article discusses the mechanisms of action of flavopiridol and UCN-01 as well as the outcome of clinical trials with these novel agents.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Piperidines / pharmacology*
  • Staurosporine / analogs & derivatives


  • Alkaloids
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Flavonoids
  • Piperidines
  • alvocidib
  • 7-hydroxystaurosporine
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases
  • Staurosporine