Major advances in the treatment of cancer: What does a non-oncologist need to know?

Ikram A. Burney*, Mansour S. Al-Moundhri

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The last few years have seen major advances in the management of cancers. Since it is not possible for the non-oncologist to keep abreast with the latest developments in the field of oncology, this review summarises the most significant advances in the area of treatment of various cancers over the past four years. In some areas, a paradigm shift has occurred setting new standards of care, for example, the use of targeted therapy (trastuzumab) in adjuvant treatment of breast cancer; the use of monoclonal antibodies (rituximab), with or without chemotherapy, in the treatment and maintenance of indolent lymphoma; the use of the tyrosine kinase inhibitor, imatinib, in the adjuvant setting in resected gastrointestinal stromal tumours. In other areas, new treatments have emerged, such as, the use of targeted therapies in hepatocellular carcinoma (sorafenib) and renal cell carcinoma (sunitinib, sorafenib, temsirolimus, bevacizumab). In some other cancers, the addition of targeted therapies has improved survival rates, for example, in colon cancer (bevacizumab, cetuximb, panitumumab), head and neck cancers (cetuximab), and pancreatic adenocarcinoma (erlotinib). In yet another group, new targeted therapies have emerged where resistance was previously observed with the existing targeted therapies, for example, breast cancer (lapatinib), chronic myeloid leukemia (dasatinib). Finally, the addition of chemotherapeutic agents has improved survival in some forms of cancer, for example, oxaliplatin in adjuvant treatment of colon cancer, temozolamide in glioblastoma multiforme, and adjuvant chemotherapy in non-small cell lung cancer. The information summarized here may provide useful for the busy physician needing an update in the field of oncology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-148
Number of pages12
JournalSultan Qaboos University Medical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008


  • Bevacizumab
  • Imatinib
  • Medical Oncology
  • Rituximab
  • Sorafenib
  • Sunitinib
  • Trastuzumab

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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