A history of cancer chemotherapy

Vincent T. DeVita, Edward Chu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

805 Scopus citations

Abstract

The use of chemotherapy to treat cancer began at the start of the 20th century with attempts to narrow the universe of chemicals that might affect the disease by developing methods to screen chemicals using transplantable tumors in rodents. It was, however, four World War II-related programs, and the effects of drugs that evolved from them, that provided the impetus to establish in 1955 the national drug development effort known as the Cancer Chemotherapy National Service Center. The ability of combination chemotherapy to cure acute childhood leukemia and advanced Hodgkin's disease in the 1960s and early 1970s overcame the prevailing pessimism about the ability of drugs to cure advanced cancers, facilitated the study of adjuvant chemotherapy, and helped foster the national cancer program. Today, chemotherapy has changed as important molecular abnormalities are being used to screen for potential new drugs as well as for targeted treatments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8643-8653
Number of pages11
JournalCancer research
Volume68
Issue number21
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'A history of cancer chemotherapy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this