Affiliation: Elm and Carlton Streets Buffalo, NY 14263, USA.
Despite advances in medical and surgical therapy, cancer kills more than half a million people in the United States annually, and the majority of these patients succumb to metastatic disease. The traditional approach to treating systemic disease has been the use of cytotoxic chemotherapy. However, chemotherapy is rarely curative and toxicity is often dose limiting. In addition, the effects of chemotherapy are nonspecific, targeting both malignant and normal tissues. As a result, recent efforts increasingly have focused on developing agents that target specific molecules in tumor cells in order to both improve efficacy and limit toxicity. This review summarizes the history and current use of targeted molecular therapy for cancer, with a special emphasis on recently developed inhibitors of Focal Adhesion Kinase (FAK).