Regulatory approval of cancer risk-reducing (chemopreventive) drugs: Moving what we have learned into the clinic

Frank L. Meyskens, Gregory A. Curt, Dean E. Brenner, Gary Gordon, Ronald B. Herberman, Olivera Finn, Gary J. Kelloff, Samir N. Khleif, Caroline C. Sigman, Eva Szabo

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


This article endeavors to clarify the current requirements and status of regulatory approval for chemoprevention (risk reduction) drugs and discusses possible improvements to the regulatory pathway for chemoprevention. Covering a wide range of topics in as much depth as space allows, this report is written in a style to facilitate the understanding of nonscientists and to serve as a framework for informing the directions of experts engaged more deeply with this issue. Key topics we cover here are as follows: a history of definitive cancer chemoprevention trials and their influence on the evolution of regulatory assessments; a brief review of the long-standing success of pharmacologic risk reduction of cardiovascular diseases and its relevance to approval for cancer risk reduction drugs; the use and limitations of biomarkers for developing and the approval of cancer risk reduction drugs; the identification of individuals at a high (er) risk for cancer and who are appropriate candidates for risk reduction drugs; business models that should incentivize pharmaceutical industry investment in cancer risk reduction; a summary of scientific and institutional barriers to development of cancer risk reduction drugs; and a summary of major recommendations that should help facilitate the pathway to regulatory approval for pharmacologic cancer risk reduction drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-323
Number of pages13
JournalCancer Prevention Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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