Progress in Anti-Cancer Chemotherapyby Gabriel N. Hortobagyi, David Khayat
This volume describes selected examples of both diagnostic and therapeutic progress in areas of hematologic malignancies and common human solid tumors, with an emphasis on research that has immediate or very short-term clinical application.
Description: This is a collection of review papers on selected topics in cancer treatment which endeavor to link recent advances in the oncologic basic sciences to clinical progress.
Purpose: The first of a series of yearly collection of essays, this book aims to "present succinct high-level up-to-date information on the many specialties involved in the care of cancer patients." The emphasis is on more timely publication of advances than might appear in a textbook. This is a very worthy goal, which is only partially accomplished.
Audience: The book is geared to review topics for cancer scientists and clinicians outside of their area of expertise. It is organized into five parts covering cytotoxic therapy, immunology, radiotherapy, clinical management, and chemoprevention of malignancy. The level of writing is appropriate; a few chapters might also interest experts in the field. Many of the contibutors are recognized authorities on their subject. Most are from MD Anderson Cancer Center and Hopital Pitie-Salpetriere, as are the two book editors.
Features: The illustrations, tables, and references complement and summarize the text. The few black-and-white photographs, however, are of poor quality. Most of the sections of the book are well organized, containing chapters covering related topics with duplication kept to a minimum. Unfortunately, at times this can be a problem; for example, the thorough discussion of irinotecan treatment of colorectal cancer appears in the camptothecin chapter and not in the colorectal one.
Assessment: The major weakness of this text is the choice of topics. Despite the book's title, other than the camptothecins, little that is cutting edge in cancer chemotherapy is covered. Several chapters are more historical than current, others speculative or idiosyncratic. While many chapters admirably review their topics in a precise fashion (biochemotherapy of melanoma, adjuvant therapy of colorectal cancer), most are no more complete or timely than what appears in standard texts. Only the breast, upper aerodigestive cancer prevention, and camptothecin chapters are not likely candidates for duplication in textbooks. Nevertheless, this volume has a role, not as a reference, but as a vehicle to whet the curiosity of cancer experts in topics outside of their usual concerns.
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