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Br J Cancer. 2004 Jan 12;90(1):8-11.

Cancer pharmacogenetics.

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Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, 660 South Euclid Ave, Campus Box 8069, the Siteman Cancer Center, and the CREATE Pharmacogenetic Research Network, St Louis, MO 63110-1093, USA.


The large number of active combination chemotherapy regimens for most cancers has led to the need for better information to guide the 'standard' treatment for each patient. In an attempt to individualise therapy, pharmacogenetics and pharmacogenomics (a polygenic approach to pharmacogenetic studies) encompass the search for answers to the hereditary basis for interindividual differences in drug response. This review will focus on the results of studies assessing the effects of polymorphisms in drug-metabolising enzymes and drug targets on the toxicity and response to commonly used chemotherapy drugs. In addition, the need for polygenic pharmacogenomic strategies to identify patients at risk for adverse drug reactions will be highlighted.

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