Comparing antibody and small-molecule therapies for cancer

Nat Rev Cancer. 2006 Sep;6(9):714-27. doi: 10.1038/nrc1913.


The 'magic bullet' concept of specifically targeting cancer cells at the same time as sparing normal tissues is now proven, as several monoclonal antibodies and targeted small-molecule compounds have been approved for cancer treatment. Both antibodies and small-molecule compounds are therefore promising tools for target-protein-based cancer therapy. We discuss and compare the distinctive properties of these two therapeutic strategies so as to provide a better view for the development of new drugs and the future direction of cancer therapy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drugs, Investigational / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Drugs, Investigational