Molecular targeted therapy: Treating cancer with specificity

Eur J Pharmacol. 2018 Sep 5;834:188-196. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2018.07.034. Epub 2018 Jul 20.


Molecular targeted therapies are revolutionized therapeutics which interfere with specific molecules to block cancer growth, progression, and metastasis. Many molecular targeted therapies approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), have demonstrated remarkable clinical success in the treatment of a myriad of cancer types including breast, leukemia, colorectal, lung, and ovarian cancers. This review provides an update on the different types of molecular targeted therapies used in the treatment of cancer, focusing on the fundamentals of molecular targeted therapy, its mode of action in cancer treatment, as well as its advantages and limitations.

Keywords: Cancer; Gene therapy; Molecular targeted therapy; Monoclonal antibody; Small molecule; Therapeutic cancer vaccine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cancer Vaccines / immunology
  • Genetic Therapy
  • Humans
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy / methods*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Tumor Microenvironment / drug effects


  • Cancer Vaccines