It is estimated that 1.2 million new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2000. Although treatment advances encompassing several disciplines, including surgery, radiation treatment, and medical oncology, have reduced the mortality rate from cancer by 16% between 1950 and 1995 (excluding lung and bronchus cancer), 560,000 people per year still succumb to this disease in the United States . Surgery is the best treatment for well-localized and accessible solid tumors and is often curative for many tumor types if they are detected early. However, chemotherapy remains the only alternative for tumors that have metastasized or are inaccessible to surgery or radiation. The role of chemotherapy in the success of cancer treatment regimens provides hope that further drug discoveries will have a continuing substantial impact on this disease. A thorough understanding of how current anticancer agents function in the context of tumor and cellular physiology will contribute to further rational drug discovery and improve existing regimens. This chapter reviews chemotherapeutic approaches to cancer treatment with an emphasis on drug class and mechanisms of action. The reader is referred to several excellent monographs, and the references therein, for a more detailed discussion on the pharmacology of these agents [2–7].
KeywordsBreast Cancer Anticancer Drug Vinca Alkaloid Nitrogen Mustard Germ Cell Cancer
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