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Executive Briefing - Roadmap for success in oncology

This article was originally published in Scrip

Executive Summary

Since the launch in 1998 of Roche/Genentech's Herceptin (trastuzumab) – the first monoclonal antibody marketed in oncology with administration determined by tumour marker testing – many significant advances have been made in the treatment of cancer. The value of targeted therapies/chemotherapy combinations and the potential of adjuvant therapy (drug treatment following surgery to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence) have been demonstrated in the clinic to improve survival rates, notably in breast, lung and colon cancers. The targeted therapy concept – drug treatments developed to preferentially target those signalling pathways that are disregulated in tumours – contrasts with earlier cancer treatments, such as cytotoxics and immunomodulators, which were based on broad-acting mechanisms. Several targeted molecules have shown efficacy in a wide range of indications, including cancers of the breast, colon, lung, kidney and lymphoma, with important survival benefits observed in some of them.

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