In recent years, efforts have been made to improve the selectivity of anti-cancer agents via the targeting of cancer-specific proteins or signalisation pathways. Novel anticancer drugs inhibiting defined kinases, the proteasome, and selected growth factor receptors for examples have been developed with success for a few cancer types. But in parallel to these novel “soft” drugs, conventional “hard” cytotoxic molecules targeting DNA, topoisomerases or tubuline remain extensively used to treat solid tumors. This letter evokes the utility and limitations of the two drug categories and comments on new directions of the antitumor pharmacology taken to improve the efficacy of cancer chemotherapy and the development of new molecules.
Keywords: antitumor pharmacology, anti-cancer agents, signalisation pathways, kinases, proteasome, soft drugs, cytotoxic molecules
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