Targeted therapies for cancer 2004

Jeffrey S. Ross, David P. Schenkein, Robert Pietrusko, Mark Rolfe, Gerald P. Linette, James Stec, Nancy E. Stagliano, Geoffrey S. Ginsburg, W. Fraser Symmans, Lajos Pusztai, Gabriel N. Hortobagyi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

234 Scopus citations


The regulatory agency approvals in the United States and Europe of imatinib mesylate (Gleevec) for patients with bcr/abl-positive chronic myelogenous leukemia, cetuximab (Erbitux) for patients with epidermal growth factor receptor overexpressing metastatic colorectal cancer, the antiangiogenesis agent bevacizumab (Avastin), and the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib (Velcade)-and the considerable public interest in new anticancer drugs that take advantage of specific genetic defects that render the malignant cells more likely to respond to specific treatment-are driving a new era of integrated diagnostics and therapeutics. The recent discovery of a drug response predicting activating mutation in the epidermal growth factor receptor gene for patients with non-small cell lung cancer treated with gefitinib (Iressa) has intensified this interest. In this review, the history of targeted anticancer therapies is highlighted, with focus on the development of molecular diagnostics for hematologic malignancies and the emergence of trastuzumab (Herceptin), an antibody-based targeted therapy for HER-2/neu overexpressing metastatic breast cancer. The potential of pharmacogenomic strategies and the use of high-density genomic microarrays to classify and select therapy for cancer are briefly considered. This review also considers the widely held view that, in the next 5 to 10 years, the clinical application of molecular diagnostics will further revolutionize the drug discovery and development process; customize the selection, dosing, route of administration of existing and new therapeutic agents; and truly personalize medical care for cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)598-609
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican journal of clinical pathology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2004


  • Cancer
  • Molecular diagnostics
  • Personalized medicine
  • Review
  • Targeted therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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  • Cite this

    Ross, J. S., Schenkein, D. P., Pietrusko, R., Rolfe, M., Linette, G. P., Stec, J., Stagliano, N. E., Ginsburg, G. S., Symmans, W. F., Pusztai, L., & Hortobagyi, G. N. (2004). Targeted therapies for cancer 2004. American journal of clinical pathology, 122(4), 598-609.