Ewing's sarcoma (ES) is a highly malignant tumor of children and young adults. Modern therapy for Ewing's sarcoma combines high-dose chemotherapy for systemic control of disease, with advanced surgical and/or radiation therapeutic approaches for local control. Despite optimal management, the cure rate for localized disease is only approximately 70%, whereas the cure rate for metastatic disease at presentation is less than 30%. Patients who experience long-term disease-free survival are at risk for significant side-effects of therapy, including infertility, limb dysfunction and an increased risk for second malignancies. The identification of new targets for innovative therapeutic approaches is, therefore, strongly needed for its treatment. Many new pharmaceutical agents have been tested in early phases of clinical trials in ES patients who have recurrent disease. While some agents led to partial response or stable disease, the percentages of drugs eliciting responses or causing an overall effect have been minimal. Furthermore, of the new pharmaceuticals being introduced to clinical practice, the most effective agents also have dose-limiting toxicities. Novel approaches are needed to minimize non-specific toxicity, both for patients with recurrence and at diagnosis. This report presents an overview of the potential molecular targets in ES and highlights the possibility that they may serve as therapeutic targets for the disease. Although additional investigations are required before most of these approaches can be assessed in the clinic, they provide a great deal of hope for patients with Ewing's sarcoma.
Keywords: Dose-limiting toxicity; Ewing's sarcoma; molecular targets.