Major contributions towards finding a cure for cancer through chemotherapy: a historical review


The history of cancer chemotherapy is as old as cancer itself. With the increase in the complexities of cancer and the development of resistance towards existing anticancer agents, increased attention is now being paid to the advancement of chemotherapy. Some chemotherapeutic agents were discovered by accident or trial-and-error methods while others were found to be useful for neoplasia when they were being evaluated for some other purpose. Broadly, these agents have been classified as alkylating agents, antimetabolites, platinum compounds, antitumor antibiotics and natural products. Hormones and compounds interfering with hormone metabolism are widely used in cancer treatment, besides monoclonal antibodies and small molecules targeting angiogenesis. In this review an attempt is made to discuss the major breakthroughs that have shaped the course of cancer chemotherapy, helping to decrease the mortality as well as lessen the suffering of patients.

Tumori 2016; 102(1): 6 - 17

Article Type: REVIEW



Imran Masood, Maria H. Kiani, Mahmood Ahmad, Muhammed I. Masood, Hadia Sadaquat

Article History


Financial support: No funding sources were involved in the preparation of the manuscript.
Conflict of interest: The authors have no conflict of interests related to this paper.

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  • Faculty of Pharmacy and Alternative Medicine, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Bahawalpur - Pakistan
  • Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS), Lahore - Pakistan

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