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October 18, 1965


JAMA. 1965;194(3):291. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090160069020

Chemical differences in histologically identical tumors are manifest in the variable clinical response of patients treated with the same drug for the same type of tumor. Unfortunately, toxic anticancer drugs inactive against the patient's own tumor may injure the patient by needlessly depressing bone marrow or interfering with wound healing, and by decreasing his "resistance" to the tumor, thereby enhancing tumor growth. The possibility of injury from side effects of anticancer drugs not active against the tumor creates a scientific and ethical dilemma for the physician.1,2

A possible solution to the general problem of matching anticancer drugs with the variable chemical requirements of each patient's tumor is presented in a recent issue of the Archives of Surgery.3 The solution arose from investigation of sulfhydryl inhibitors for cancer chemotherapy. The sulfhydryl inhibitors (agents reacting with, or binding sulfhydryl groups) were studied because sulfhydryl-containing, residual protein bound to deoxyribonucleic acid