Recent advances in cancer therapy: an overview

Curr Pharm Des. 2010 Jan;16(1):3-10. doi: 10.2174/138161210789941847.


The landscape of cancer treatment has dramatically changed over the last four decades. The age when surgery and radiotherapy were the only effective way to fight tumour growth has ended. A complex scenario where the molecular features of tumours seem to be the cornerstone of any therapy is now emerging. Here we provide an overview on the different approaches to cancer treatment. This review will help the reader to acknowledge the pivotal role of some classic cancer therapies, including surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and endocrine therapy, now better understood in the mechanims underpinning their efficacy. Following, we focus on the understanding of the value of systemic treatment and on an up-date on the novel, up-coming therapies of the current targeted therapy age, including new antibodies, small molecules, antiangiogenics and viral therapy. We briefly elaborate, finally, on new biomarkers development and how it should rule and determine the future of therapeutic research in cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Antibodies / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal / therapeutic use
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Drug Design
  • Humans
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Neoplasms / surgery
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Oncolytic Virotherapy*
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Antibodies
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal