The role of pharmacogenetics in cancer therapeutics

Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2006 Jul;62(1):35-46. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.2006.02591.x.


The variability in treatment responses and narrow therapeutic index of anticancer drugs are some of the key challenges oncologists face. The knowledge of pharmacogenetics can potentially aid in the discovery, development and ultimately individualization of anticancer drugs. The identification of genetic variations that predict for drug response is the first step towards the translation of pharmacogenetics into clinical practice. This review provides an update on the results of studies assessing the effects of germline polymorphisms and somatic mutations on therapeutic outcomes and highlights the potential applications and future challenges in pharmacogenetic research pertaining to cancer therapeutics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / metabolism
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Drug Design
  • Drug Interactions
  • Enzymes / genetics
  • Enzymes / metabolism*
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics
  • ErbB Receptors / metabolism
  • Forecasting
  • Germ-Line Mutation / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Pharmacogenetics / methods*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic / genetics*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Enzymes
  • ErbB Receptors