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Clin Cancer Res. 2008 Mar 15;14(6):1610-7. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-07-2249.

Newer cytotoxic agents: attacking cancer broadly.

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  • 1Genzyme Corporation, Framingham, Massachusetts 01701-9322, USA.


The plasticity and instability of the cancer genome is impressive and is characterized by gene amplifications and deletions, rearrangements, and many silent and active mutations. Although targeted therapeutics have had effect in some diseases, there remains a large role for new cytotoxic agents that have the potential to be broadly active across multiple cancers. Platinum-based regimens are the basis for treatment of several common tumors. Satraplatin and picoplatin are newer platinum complexes that form bulkier lesions in DNA than their forerunners. Microtubules are a key target for anticancer agents. Vinca alkaloid and similar compounds fragment these critical structures, whereas taxanes stabilize them. Vinflunine is a new fluorinated Vinca alkaloid derivative with vascular disrupting effects, as well as antitumor effects. Epothilones are a new class of microtubule stabilizers. Mitosis has been targeted directly and indirectly by many anticancer agents. The aurora kinases are new targets in this class. Inhibitors of aurora kinases are likely to be cytotoxic. Finally, protein regulation is essential for cellular integrity. With the approval of bortezomib (Velcade, PS-341), the proteosome, a master protein regulator, has been validated as an anticancer target. The five articles in this issue of CCR Focus present the current status of these next generation cytotoxic agents.

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