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Drugs that lack single-agent activity: are they worth pursuing in combination?

Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology volume 14, pages 193194 (2017) | Download Citation

Over the past decade, many anticancer drugs have been approved for use only in combination regimens and only in palliative settings, despite having negligible single-agent activity in the same disease. We examine whether these agents provide any tangible clinical benefits and are worthy of continued development, or whether R&D efforts would be better focused elsewhere.

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Author information


  1. Department of Haemato-Oncology, Nobel Hospital, Sinamangal, Kathmandu 21034, Nepal.

    • Bishal Gyawali
  2. Division of Hematology Oncology, Knight Cancer Institute, Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU), 3181 South West Sam Jackson Park Road, Portland, Oregon 97239–3098, USA.

    • Vinay Prasad
  3. Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, OSHU, 3181 South West Sam Jackson Park Road, Portland, Oregon 97239–3098, USA.

    • Vinay Prasad
  4. Center for Ethics in Health Care, OHSU, 3181 South West Sam Jackson Park Road, Portland, Oregon 97239–3098, USA.

    • Vinay Prasad


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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Vinay Prasad.

Supplementary information

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    Supplementary information S1 (table)

    Approvals of drugs with limited evidence of single-agent activity as combination therapies

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