Since in most tumors multiple signaling pathways are involved, many of the inhibitors in clinical development are designed to affect a wide range of targeted kinases. The most important tyrosine kinase families in the development of tyrosine kinase inhibitors are the ABL, SCR, platelet derived growth factor, vascular endothelial growth factor receptor and epidermal growth factor receptor families. Both multi-kinase inhibitors and single-kinase inhibitors have advantages and disadvantages, which are related to potential resistance mechanisms, pharmacokinetics, selectivity and tumor environment. In different malignancies various tyrosine kinases are mutated or overexpressed and several resistance mechanisms exist. Pharmacokinetics is influenced by interindividual differences and differs for two single targeted inhibitors or between patients treated by the same tyrosine kinase inhibitor. Different tyrosine kinase inhibitors have various mechanisms to achieve selectivity, while differences in gene expression exist between tumor and stromal cells. Considering these aspects, one type of inhibitor can generally not be preferred above the other, but will depend on the specific genetic constitution of the patient and the tumor, allowing personalized therapy. The most effective way of cancer treatment by using tyrosine kinase inhibitors is to consider each patient/tumor individually and to determine the strategy that specifically targets the consequences of altered (epi)genetics of the tumor. This strategy might result in treatment by a single multi kinase inhibitor for one patient, but in treatment by a couple of single kinase inhibitors for other patients.
Keywords: Breakpoint cluster region-Abelson murine leukemia oncogene homolog 1; Epidermal growth factor receptor; Janus kinase; Platelet derived growth factor; Targeted therapy; Tyrosine kinase inhibitors; Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor.