Therapeutic cancer prevention: achievements and ongoing challenges – a focus on breast and colorectal cancer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The constant increase of cancer incidence and the huge costs of new treatments make cancer prevention a crucial goal in order to maintain sustainable public health systems across the world. Carcinogenesis is a multistep process, which allows time for active intervention with natural or synthetic agents to stop or reverse the pathological process. Cancer prevention medicine can be considered to be treatment of premalignant cells or preneoplastic conditions. Clearly such interventions require well-defined risk classification so that personalized strategies and specific treatments can be applied to cohorts with a documented increased cancer risk, and not to the general population as a whole. Further development of these strategies in an efficient and timely manner requires investment in the discovery and validation of surrogate cancer biomarkers with both prognostic and predictive value to detect and monitor the efficacy of interventions in clinical trials and beyond. In the field of cancer prevention medicine, breast and colon cancer demonstrates the strongest clinical evidence that pharmacological intervention can lower cancer risk. Here, we offer an overview of the major clinical achievements for these cancers and the critical issues to improve implementation and clinical uptake of efficacious therapies, as well as further developments needed in the field of preventive medicine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)579-590
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Oncology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • aspirin
  • breast cancer
  • colorectal cancer
  • medical prevention
  • tamoxifen
  • therapeutic prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Genetics
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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