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Chemoprevention of human cancer: a reasonable strategy?

Abstract

The field of chemoprevention of cancer in humans is at a teenage level of maturity. There is anticipation and energy, and some promising results have come in, but it's unclear whether the entire enterprise is worth the effort. Reflecting on the status of the organism and where we are in its developmental history is therefore an important exercise at this time. Empirical and philosophical perspectives are offered for several key questions: Why prevent Cancer? What is the preclinical evidence that chemoprevention of cancer in humans should work? What is the clinical evidence that chemoprevention agents work? What is the clinical evidence that chemoprevention agent don't work? What is the status of ongoing randomized phase III/IV chemoprevention trials? The answers to each of these questions provide a part of the scaffold for a logical platform for the launching of the chemoprevention imperative as an integral part of our approach to the overall management of human cancer.

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