Advances in the development of nucleoside and nucleotide analogues for cancer and viral diseases

Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2013 Jun;12(6):447-64. doi: 10.1038/nrd4010.


Nucleoside analogues have been in clinical use for almost 50 years and have become cornerstones of treatment for patients with cancer or viral infections. The approval of several additional drugs over the past decade demonstrates that this family still possesses strong potential. Here, we review new nucleoside analogues and associated compounds that are currently in preclinical or clinical development for the treatment of cancer and viral infections, and that aim to provide increased response rates and reduced side effects. We also highlight the different approaches used in the development of these drugs and the potential of personalized therapy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antiviral Agents / chemistry*
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Drug Discovery / methods
  • Drug Discovery / trends*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Nucleosides / chemistry*
  • Nucleosides / therapeutic use
  • Nucleotides / chemistry*
  • Nucleotides / therapeutic use
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Virus Replication / drug effects
  • Virus Replication / physiology


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Nucleosides
  • Nucleotides