Cancer drug discovery by repurposing: teaching new tricks to old dogs

Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2013 Sep;34(9):508-17. doi: 10.1016/j.tips.2013.06.005. Epub 2013 Aug 6.

Abstract

Progressively increasing failure rates, high cost, poor bioavailability, poor safety, limited efficacy, and a lengthy design and testing process associated with cancer drug development have necessitated alternative approaches to drug discovery. Exploring established non-cancer drugs for anticancer activity provides an opportunity rapidly to advance therapeutic strategies into clinical trials. The impetus for development of cancer therapeutics from non-cancer drugs stems from the fact that different diseases share common molecular pathways and targets in the cell. Common molecular origins of diverse diseases have been discovered through advancements in genomics, proteomics, and informatics technologies, as well as through the development of analytical tools that allow researchers simultaneously to screen large numbers of existing drugs against a particular disease target. Thus, drugs originally identified as antitussive, sedative, analgesic, antipyretic, antiarthritic, anesthetic, antidiabetic, muscle relaxant, immunosuppressant, antibiotic, antiepileptic, cardioprotective, antihypertensive, erectile function enhancing, or angina relieving are being repurposed for cancer. This review describes the repurposing of these drugs for cancer treatment.

Keywords: NF-κB; STAT3; cancer drugs; drug repurposing; inflammation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Discovery
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*

Substances

  • Antineoplastic Agents