What's wrong with our cancer models?

Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2005 Feb;4(2):161-5. doi: 10.1038/nrd1635.


Oncology, as a therapeutic area, is characterized by a desperate medical need for new drugs; the use of drugs that kill cells and which are consequently often toxic; and rates of failure in expensive Phase III trials that eclipse many other disease areas. The poor performance of most investigational cancer drugs implies that the standard preclinical disease models are faulty or, at least, improperly used. Some studies, however, support the view that cancer models can be highly effective, but only when selected and interpreted with care.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Clinical Trials, Phase I as Topic / economics
  • Clinical Trials, Phase I as Topic / trends
  • Clinical Trials, Phase III as Topic / economics
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor / methods*
  • Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor / standards*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / classification
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Treatment Failure


  • Antineoplastic Agents