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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: James G Douglas, MD, MS (Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County)
Description: This relatively brief work examines the currently available molecular targeting agents and their interactions with irradiation. The basic science and mechanisms underlying the targeted agents are described, followed by discussions of relevant clinical trials organized by organ system.
Purpose: The book was written to "review both the basic science and current clinical status of combining targeted biologic agents with radiotherapy" as stated by the authors. The book for the most part achieves these objectives, which are certainly important concepts for radiation oncologists to grasp.
Audience: The authors do not clearly state their specific audience, but it can be inferred that the book is directed at radiation oncologists and medical oncologists who use combined modality therapy. The authors are experts in the field of molecular targeting and clinical trials.
Features: The initial three chapters describe the basic science concepts that form the basis for the use of biological targeting and describe the various pathways involved in the major signaling pathways surmised to be involved in cellular growth regulation and response to noxious stimuli. The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) signaling pathways are described in detail, each in a separate chapter. The remainder of the book deals with clinical uses and potential uses as well as deleterious side effects of targeting agents used as single modalities or combined with irradiation and/or cytotoxic agents.
Assessment: The book suffers at times from being overly technical in its descriptions of the various signaling pathways. The presentation in the first three chapters would have been improved by well placed figures that visually showed the pathways and the interactive molecules and gene products. In fact, the most useful figure does not appear until the eighth chapter, and it is of relatively poor quality. The more clinically related chapters do offer comprehensive reviews of current studies and planned studies and are generally well written.