Current cancer therapy may become obsolete

April 19, 2006

A Washington University study in St. Louis suggests cancer therapy based on a tumor's anatomical location may soon become obsolete.

When researchers compared cancerous tumors they found the location of a tumor did not correlate as to how the cancer interacted with standard anticancer drugs.

The researchers say their findings suggest traditional cancer treatments establishing different drug regimens for brain, prostate or ovarian cancer, for example, should eventually be replaced with therapies that use drugs deemed to be of highest benefit based on the tumor's pharmacologic profile.

"This study is the first time the pathway for a drug's effect has been analyzed in tumors from different anatomical locations," said Howard McLeod, director of the pharmacology core at the Siteman Cancer Center and a member of the National Institutes of Health Pharmacogenetics Research Network.

"If further studies confirm a tumor-specific approach is better than the current anatomical emphasis, oncologists may have to stop thinking of themselves as colon cancer or breast cancer specialists and let the cancer tell them which drugs to use for each specific patient," McLeod said.

The study will appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Pathology.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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