Cell Proliferation Characteristics and Cancer Chemotherapy

  • Seymour Perry
Part of the ALZA Conference Series book series (ALZA, volume 2)


The characteristics of normal and neoplastic cell proliferation have been of interest to investigators for many years. Most of the studies have dealt with normal and leukemic leukocyte kinetics, since available techniques are more readily applicable to normal and leukemic bone marrows and peripheral blood. In solid tumors — particularly in man — such studies are much more difficult because of technical limitations, so that corresponding data in this area are sparse. Nevertheless, within the last decade, the relevance of growth characteristics to successful chemotherapy of cancer has come to be recognized. It is somewhat surprising that this recognition has been so late in coming, since most efforts in anti-tumor drug development even early were directed at the identification of agents which interfered with tumor cell replication and, specifically, with DNA synthesis. In fact, the modern era of cancer chemotherapy began with the observations of Farber that aminopterin, an anti-folate, induced complete remissions in childhood acute leukemia (1). An integral part of the drug development effort was the constant search for drugs with “selective toxicity”, i.e., drugs which could selectively destroy cancer cells without undue damage to normal cells. Unfortunately, this goal has never really been achieved and most clinically useful agents have significant and usually serious effects on normal tissue, particularly the bone marrow and the gastrointestinal tract, whose cells have relatively rapid turnover times.


Acute Leukemia Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia Acute Myelogenous Leukemia Growth Fraction Cell Cycle Time 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • Seymour Perry
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Cancer TreatmentNational Cancer InstituteUSA

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