How can attrition rates be reduced in cancer drug discovery?

Expert Opin Drug Discov. 2013 Apr;8(4):363-8. doi: 10.1517/17460441.2013.768984. Epub 2013 Feb 4.


Attrition is a major issue in anticancer drug development with up to 95% of drugs tested in Phase I trials not reaching a marketing authorisation making the drug development process enormously costly and inefficient. It is essential that this problem is addressed throughout the whole drug development process to improve efficiency which will ultimately result in increased patient benefit with more profitable drugs. The approach to reduce cancer drug attrition rates must be based on three pillars. The first of these is that there is a need for new pre-clinical models which can act as better predictors of success in clinical trials. Furthermore, clinical trials driven by tumour biology with the incorporation of predictive and pharmacodynamic biomarkers would be beneficial in drug development. Finally, there is a need for increased collaboration to combine the unique strengths between industry, academia and regulators to ensure that the needs of all stakeholders are met.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / economics
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Drug Approval / economics
  • Drug Discovery / economics
  • Drug Discovery / methods*
  • Drug Industry / economics
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*


  • Antineoplastic Agents