The farnesyltransferase inhibitors (FTIs) were designed to inhibit the post-translational processing of Ras proteins, which are mutated in 30% of all human cancers. Recent studies suggest, however, that the target of FTIs may be a protein other than Ras, and that these agents may be more appropriately used to treat tumors with activated wild-type ras signaling. Preliminary results from several phase II and phase III studies have been reported. The FTIs fail to show significant single-agent activity in non-small cell lung cancer, small cell lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, refractory colorectal cancer, and bladder cancer. Activity has been shown in hematologic malignancies (acute myeloid leukemia, chronic myeloid leukemia, myelodysplastic syndrome), breast cancer, and glioma. Several combination studies of FTIs and standard cytotoxic agents are ongoing.
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