Conclusion Challenges for the Future

Designing clinical trials to investigate the activity of these novel agents and optimize their use in a defined patient population are critical challenges to the success of targeted therapy. There remains much cause for optimism and enthusiasm, particularly following the notable successes in the past few years that have made it to the clinic, such as trastuzumab for breast cancer, bevacizumab for colorectal cancer, imatinib mesylate for CML and GIST, and gefitinib for lung cancer.

The field is moving fast, with an exploding knowledge base of molecular abnormalities in cancer and an increasing array of molecules that can target abnormal or overexpressed onco-proteins. As reviewed here, targeted therapies include a wide spectrum of approaches that are applicable to many different cancers, and the principles which govern their development are evolving as we learn how to utilize these novel agents. Within the next decade we should find out whether we make a paradigm shift in the treatment and prevention of cancer by translating scientific progress into clinical practice. Many truly believe that we will.

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