Recent advances in drug repositioning for the discovery of new anticancer drugs

Int J Biol Sci. 2014 Jun 10;10(7):654-63. doi: 10.7150/ijbs.9224. eCollection 2014.


Drug repositioning (also referred to as drug repurposing), the process of finding new uses of existing drugs, has been gaining popularity in recent years. The availability of several established clinical drug libraries and rapid advances in disease biology, genomics and bioinformatics has accelerated the pace of both activity-based and in silico drug repositioning. Drug repositioning has attracted particular attention from the communities engaged in anticancer drug discovery due to the combination of great demand for new anticancer drugs and the availability of a wide variety of cell- and target-based screening assays. With the successful clinical introduction of a number of non-cancer drugs for cancer treatment, drug repositioning now became a powerful alternative strategy to discover and develop novel anticancer drug candidates from the existing drug space. In this review, recent successful examples of drug repositioning for anticancer drug discovery from non-cancer drugs will be discussed.

Keywords: angiogenesis; cancer; drug discovery; drug library.; drug repositioning; drug screening.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Computational Biology
  • Digoxin / pharmacology
  • Digoxin / therapeutic use
  • Drug Repositioning / trends*
  • Itraconazole / pharmacology
  • Itraconazole / therapeutic use
  • Nelfinavir / pharmacology
  • Nelfinavir / therapeutic use
  • Nitroquinolines / pharmacology
  • Nitroquinolines / therapeutic use


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Nitroquinolines
  • Itraconazole
  • Digoxin
  • nitroxoline
  • Nelfinavir