Cancer Drugs Found to Work in New Way

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Science  14 Apr 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5464, pp. 245
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5464.245a

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Two new studies may enable clinicians to improve the effectiveness of so-called metronomic therapy, in which low oral doses of chemotherapy drugs are given continuously to cancer patients who can't tolerate or have already failed to respond to high-dose chemotherapy. The studies, both of which were done in mice, show that this gentler form of chemotherapy may work by blocking angiogenesis--the sprouting of new blood vessels that feed growing tumors. What's more, both show that the effectiveness of metronomic therapy is enhanced when it is used in combination with drugs that specifically inhibit angiogenesis. The researchers caution, however, that chemotherapies that look promising in mice often fail to pan out in humans.