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Maturitas. 2013 Dec;76(4):308-14. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2013.09.008. Epub 2013 Sep 20.

Targeted cancer therapy--are the days of systemic chemotherapy numbered?

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Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA; Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, CHA Gangnam Medical Center, CHA University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.


Targeted therapy or molecular targeted therapy has been defined as a type of treatment that blocks the growth of cancer cells by interfering with specific cell molecules required for carcinogenesis and tumor growth, rather than by simply interfering with all rapidly dividing cells as with traditional chemotherapy. There is a growing number of FDA approved monoclonal antibodies and small molecules targeting specific types of cancer suggestive of the growing relevance of this therapeutic approach. Targeted cancer therapies, also referred to as "Personalized Medicine", are being studied for use alone, in combination with other targeted therapies, and in combination with chemotherapy. The objective of personalized medicine is the identification of patients that would benefit from a specific treatment based on the expression of molecular markers. Examples of this approach include bevacizumab and olaparib, which have been designated as promising targeted therapies for ovarian cancer. Combinations of trastuzumab with pertuzumab, or T-DM1 and mTOR inhibitors added to an aromatase inhibitor are new therapeutic strategies for breast cancer. Although this approach has been seen as a major step in the expansion of personalized medicine, it has substantial limitations including its high cost and the presence of serious adverse effects. The Cancer Genome Atlas is a useful resource to identify novel and more effective targets, which may help to overcome the present limitations. In this review we will discuss the clinical outcome of some of these new therapies with a focus on ovarian and breast cancer. We will also discuss novel concepts in targeted therapy, the target of cancer stem cells.


Breast cancer; Ovarian cancer; Ovarian cancer stem cells; Personalized medicine; Targeted cancer therapy; The Cancer Genome Atlas

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