Small molecule and monoclonal antibody therapies in neurooncology

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143-0350, USA.
Cancer control: journal of the Moffitt Cancer Center (Impact Factor: 3.5). 05/2005; 12(2):116-24.
Source: PubMed


The prognosis for most patients with primary brain tumors remains poor. Recent advances in molecular and cell biology have led to a greater understanding of molecular alterations in brain tumors. These advances are being translated into new therapies that will hopefully improve the prognosis for patients with brain tumors.
We reviewed the literature on small molecule targeted agents and monoclonal antibodies used in brain tumor research and brain tumor clinical trials for the past 20 years.
Brain tumors commonly express molecular abnormalities. These alterations can lead to the activation of cell pathways involved in cell proliferation. This knowledge has led to interest in novel anti-brain-tumor therapies targeting key components of these pathways. Many drugs and monoclonal antibodies have been developed that modulate these pathways and are in various stages of testing.
The use of targeted therapies against brain tumors promises to improve the prognosis for patients with brain tumors. However, as the molecular pathogenesis of brain tumors has not been linked to a single genetic defect or target, molecular agents may need to be used in combinations or in tandem with cytotoxic agents. Further study of these agents in well-designed cooperative clinical trials is needed.

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