source: Best practice & research: Clinical gastroenterology
Xiangwei Wu, Sherri Patterson, Ernest Hawk
Our current understanding of tumourigenesis suggests that cancer develops as a series of cumulative genetic and epigenetic derangements across time culminating in a clone of cells differing from its population of origin in terms of cellular identity, growth control, and its contextual relationship to its environment. Our increasing knowledge of the timing, sequence, frequency, and specific implications of these changes provides unique opportunities for earlier identification of aberrations and preventive interventions. Here we discuss the fundamentals of cancer prevention including the targets, cohorts, agents, endpoints, mechanistic biomarkers, designs, and strategies employed in preventive drug development. There have been many notable successes in this field such as the identification and development of tamoxifen and raloxifene for breast cancer risk reduction, instillational BCG and valrubicin for treatment of preinvasive bladder cancer, and a variety of topical and systemic agents that effectively treat preinvasive neoplastic lesions of the skin. A variety of null or negative developmental endeavours have occurred as well, including trials of beta-carotene for lung cancer prevention, nutritional modifications for colorectal adenoma prevention, and most recently, selenium and alpha-tocopherol for prostate cancer prevention. A third category of prevention trials can be summarized as investigationally successful, but not achieving regulatory success. The development of finasteride and dutasteride for prostate cancer prevention, and celecoxib for colorectal neoplasia prevention fall into this category. In less than four decades, cancer chemoprevention has transformed from a concept to an achievable reality.
The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
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