New drugs for the treatment of cancer, 1990-2001. Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Between 1990 and 2001, altogether 28 new anticancer drugs were approved for use in Israel. The new agents include cytotoxic drugs, biologic compounds, and hormone therapies. Among the cytotoxic agents introduced, the taxanes, vinorelbine, gemcitabine, irinotecan, topotecan and temozolomide, represent important new drugs active in a range of solid malignancies including lung, breast, ovarian, bladder, pancreatic, and colon cancer as well as brain tumors. Epirubicin, idarubicin, and liposomal doxorubicin offer less toxic and in some instances more effective alternatives to older anthracylines for leukemia, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and other diseases. New oral agents are offering a chance for disease palliation without the need for burdensome intravenous access. Rituximab and trastuzumab have introduced monoclonal antibody therapy to the clinic, substantially improving the treatment of patients with lymphoma and breast cancer, respectively. The first tyrosine kinase inhibitor, a molecularly targeted therapy, imatinib, was approved for use in chronic myeloid leukemia and has also shown remarkable activity in gastrointestinal stromal tumors. A variety of aromatase inhibitors have provided less toxic and more effective hormone therapy for the treatment of breast cancer. The challenge for clinicians is to optimize the use of the new available agents for their patients' benefit, and the challenge for health policy-makers in Israel is to integrate the new anticancer pharmaceuticals into the basic health benefits package mandated for all citizens.

publication date

  • January 1, 2002