PARP Inhibitors: The Journey From Research Hypothesis to Clinical Approval

Kishan AT Naipal; Dik C van Gent


Personalized Medicine. 2015;12(2):139-154. 

In This Article

Cancer Epidemiology & Therapy

Cancer is an important issue in current healthcare. According to American cancer statistics over 1.6 million new cases were estimated for 2013 in the USA.[1] This number is based on the ten most common types of cancer and not including most in situ and premalignant lesions. These new cancer cases are expected to result in more than 500,000 cancer related deaths.[1] According to the most recent global cancer statistics the incidence of cancer and cancer-related deaths keeps increasing over time.[2] Among women, breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer and also accounts for the highest cancer related mortality for this sex group. For males this is the case for lung cancer.[2] Other cancer types having very high incidence rates include prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, malignant melanoma and leukemia.[2] These statistics highlight the increasing burden that healthcare systems will have to suffer in coming years due to cancer disease, showing an obvious need for development of novel cancer treatment therapies and optimization of existing treatment options.

Already for many years cancer treatment depends largely on the classical trio of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. For many cancer types surgery is the main focus of therapy (e.g., breast, prostate and colorectal carcinoma). Optimization of surgery, for example, in breast cancer, currently focuses on assessing optimal resection margins to decrease residual disease.[3] Radiotherapy is indicated only for local solid cancers where surgical removal falls short. In some instances, such as hematological malignancies and metastatic cancer disease, surgery is not suitable and treatment options depend mainly on systemic treatments such as chemotherapy. A more recent development in the field of systemic treatment for cancer is targeted therapy as a form of personalized medicine.