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Nat Clin Pract Oncol. 2008 May;5(5):268-78. doi: 10.1038/ncponc1087. Epub 2008 Mar 18.

Drug insight: gastrointestinal and hepatic adverse effects of molecular-targeted agents in cancer therapy.

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Institute Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, France.

Erratum in

  • Nat Clin Pract Oncol. 2009 Mar;6(3):180. Penault-Lorca, Frédérique [corrected to Penault-Llorca, Frédérique].


Recent advances in the understanding of molecular mechanisms of cancer have led to the development of novel compounds that target specific cancer pathways. These drugs encompass monoclonal antibodies and tyrosine and non-tyrosine kinase inhibitors, and have been approved by the FDA and the European Medicines Agency, among others, for cancer treatment. These agents are associated with several toxic effects including potentially unacceptable gastrointestinal adverse effects. Diarrhea and hepatotoxicity, the most common adverse events experienced with these treatments, can frequently lead to treatment discontinuation and consequently decreased cancer control. We review the incidence and clinical patterns of the gastrointestinal and hepatic toxic effects induced by the main molecular-targeted therapies and propose some hypotheses for the causes of each adverse event.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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