Anticancer Agents

More so than other therapeutic agents, anticancer drugs exert profound side effects upon systemic administration. Commonly, other therapies need to be applied to treat the side effects of these drugs. Pulmonary delivery, therefore, represents a rational route of administration for the treatment of lung cancers. Relatively few drugs have been investigated, however. In a recent phase I clinical study, inhaled vitamin A was shown to suppress epithelial metaplasia and, therefore, was proposed as a potential agent for the prevention of lung cancer [108]. Other inhaled agents evaluated in phase I human studies for cancer treatment include granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) [109], interferon a [110], and interleukin 2 [111]. There are also several other anticancer drugs being examined using pulmonary delivery in animal models of cancer [112]. However, one wonders how effective an inhaled chemotherapeutic agent will be at treating an established tumor that occludes the airway and, consequently, hinders aerosol deposition at the tumor site. It is more likely that inhaled drugs will be used prophylactically for chemopreven-tion in cancer, i.e., to prevent the development of lung tumors in vulnerable patients.

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