Radiosensitising agents for the radiotherapy of cancer: novel molecularly targeted approaches

Expert Opin Ther Pat. 2009 Jun;19(6):775-99. doi: 10.1517/13543770902967666.


Background: The efficacy of radiotherapy (RT) for cancer treatment is limited by normal tissue toxicity and by the intrinsic or acquired radioresistance of many tumours. Therefore, continuing efforts are conducted to identify radiosensitising agents that preferentially sensitise tumour cells to the cytotoxic action of RT. Recent progresses in molecular oncology have uncovered an array of novel targets, which may be exploited for RT enhancement.

Objective: To survey the patent literature of the past 4 years pertaining to the development of molecularly targeted agents as potential tumour radiosensitisers.

Methods: Patents were searched with a set of relevant keywords using several search engines. A Medline search on the same topics was performed in parallel.

Results/conclusion: A total of 48 patents/applications were selected. These concerned agents target molecular components of pathways involved in DNA damage repair, cell growth and survival signalling, apoptosis modulation and tumour angiogenesis. Current trials of some of these agents may reveal their value as clinical radiosensitisers.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • DNA Repair / drug effects
  • Drug Delivery Systems*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / drug therapy
  • Patents as Topic
  • Radiation-Sensitizing Agents / pharmacology*


  • Radiation-Sensitizing Agents