Multitarget drugs: The present and the future of cancer therapy

Annalisa Petrelli, Giorgio Valabrega

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Target therapies for the treatment of human cancers have revolutionized the concept of oncological medicine. This type of therapeutic approach is directed to the inhibition of molecular targets that play a pivotal role in tumor progression - such as tyrosine kinase receptors (TKIs) controlling cell proliferation and survival - mainly by means of compounds able to block their activity. In the beginning, the aim of target therapies was specifically to hit a single molecule expressed in neoplastic cells. Now the prevailing idea is that inhibiting both cancer cells and cells of the stroma supporting the tumor would gain better results in fighting the disease. Therefore, the single-target therapy is fading in favor of a multitarget approach and the new generation of TKIs is selected on the basis of their ability simultaneously to target different molecules. This review summarizes the molecular basis of multitarget therapies and the most relevant results obtained in different cancer types.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)589-600
Number of pages12
JournalExpert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009


  • Cancer therapy
  • Clinical trials
  • Multitarget
  • Oncogene addiction
  • Stroma
  • Tyrosine kinase inhibitors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology


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