Compared to cardiovascular medicine, where preventive treatments have long been firmly established, the development of therapies to prevent cancer is still in its infancy. Cancers are more heterogeneous and biologically complex than cardiovascular diseases, and it is challenging to identify agents that selectively block neoplastic progression in one organ without producing countervailing toxicity elsewhere. Causal pathways are less well understood for cancer than for heart disease; thus it is not surprising that the incomplete mechanistic understanding of carcinogenic pathways has yielded candidate treatments with mixed results. The balance of risks and benefits is also inherently more precarious for preventive than for therapeutic interventions. All of the patients treated therapeutically already have the disease for which the treatment is designed and can experience benefits as well as harms. This chapter discusses selected pharmacologic agents that have proven to be of value or show some promise as potential anti-cancer drugs.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.