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Rev Med Liege. 2009 May-Jun;64(5-6):264-7.

[Therapeutic monoclonal antibodies in hemato-oncology].

[Article in French]

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Service d'Oncologie Médicale, CHU de Liège, Belgique.


For many years, chemotherapy, hormonotherapy and immunotherapy were the mainstay of cancer treatment. Recent advances in our knowledge of cell biology and particularly of cancer cell transformation, growth and metastasis have led to the identification of specific pathways playing a role in the pathophysiology of cancer. New drugs specifically developed to control these targets are collectively named "targeted therapies". Two types of targeted therapies are available: kinase (mainly tyrosine kinase) inhibitors (suffix -nib) are small molecules binding directly to the intracellular kinase domain and acting as competitive inhibitor of ATP binding and monoclonal antibodies (suffix -mab) directed towards specific cell surface receptors or their ligands to prevent receptor activation. This paper will only review monoclonal antibodies (mabs). Thirty years after their discovery mAbs have become efficient therapeutic tools. Progress in molecular engineering as well as improved knowledge of cell signalling pathways together with a better selection of the targets turned them into valuable treatments. Several mAbs are currently licensed for the treatment of hematological or solid malignancies and many others are expected in the near future.

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