Reviewer: Ravi Salgia, MD, PhD (City of Hope)
Description: This comprehensive yet concise pocket reference covers more than 190 targeted therapy and immunotherapy cancer agents.
Purpose: Given the explosion in the development of targeted therapies and immunotherapies in cancer, keeping up with this deluge of knowledge and the results associated with the hundreds of clinical trials is undoubtedly a daunting task. Thus, the main purpose of this little pocket book is to make these results more easily accessible to clinicians and cancer researchers alike.
Audience: The book is intended not just for medical oncologists, as would be obvious, but also for laboratory scientists, pharmacists, nurses, residents, clinical fellows, midlevel providers, postdoctoral fellows, and related staff who would be interested in clinical and translational cancer research.
Features: Written primarily by medical oncologists involved in large phase I clinical trials at major cancer centers, this endeavor is approached primarily from the perspective of clinician investigators. The book is well written and well organized. For the sake of convenience, it is dived into four major sections. The first section, "Targets by Organ Site," is organized by tumor type and molecular target and describes clinical experience with various targeted agents and immunotherapies in a succinct and easy-to-read table format. Section two, "Carcinogenesis from the Perspective of Targeted Therapy and Immunotherapy," is an interesting section built on the hallmarks of cancer, but with additions from a clinician's viewpoint. Although it does not have detailed chapters, the subheadings are intuitive and the tables at the end of the section are very informative. The third section, "Molecular Targets and Pathways," very concisely describes the cellular pathways associated with cell survival and proliferation with special emphasis on actionable targets. Finally, section four, "Targeted Therapy Agents," nicely captures and presents important information such as mechanisms of action, dosing schedule, FDA approval, common associated toxicities, etc., on more than 170 drugs.
Assessment: Overall, this is an informative and authoritative pocket book that includes experiences from clinicians and scientists working at some of the renowned cancer centers in the world. The color-coded format, such as red for loss of function and green for gain of function alterations in section 3, or green for FDA-approved drugs and orange for those under testing in section 4, is a clever and convenient feature that is worthy of special mention.