Thalidomide in cancer medicine

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Thalidomide, an oral agent with antiangiogenic and immunomodulatory properties, is being investigated extensively in the management of advanced cancer. Multiple studies with large numbers of patients have confirmed that this drug has significant activity in multiple myeloma. Some patients with myelofibrosis or myeodysplatic syndromes may reduce their need for transfusions after thalidomide treatment. The activity of thalidomide in solid tumors is less prominent. Studies in Kaposi's sarcoma, malignant melanoma, renal cell carcinoma and prostate cancer appear more promising especially when thalidomide is combined with biological agents or with chemotherapy. Limited activity was demonstrated in patients with glioma, while thalidomide appears to be inactive in patients with head and neck cancer, breast or ovarian cancer.

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