10 promising late-stage cancer drugs

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For the cancer drug research enthusiast, this report might read in places like a special oncology edition of a gun magazine. Indeed, there are plenty of weapons against cancer to read about here. Several of the drugs listed here represent the advancement of relatively new methods of attacking cancer, including "armed antibodies" and cancer-killing viruses.

In addition, decades of basic research into the molecular drivers of cancer growth are bearing fruit for drug developers. Not only are these companies making progress in clinical trials, they have landed buyout deals and lucrative partnerships. It's also clear that relatively small companies like Aveo Pharmaceuticals and Curis are making inroads along side the big boys like Pfizer and Roche. 

There are 10 late-stage drugs listed in this report, but this editor hesitates to call them the "Top 10" only because there are so many variables to consider to rank them in such a way objectively. Yet these 10 drugs have certainly been generating news and, in most cases, lots of interest among investors and the medical community. All of the drugs have reached pivotal trials for at least one type of cancer.

Here's the list in alphabetical order by each drug's most commonly used moniker, whether that is its alphanumeric code name or generic name. As always, please let us know whether you think there are cancer drugs in pivotal trials that you think should have been on this list or ones on this list that shouldn't be.

1. Carfilzomib - multiple myeloma
2. Crizotinib (PF-02341066) - lung cancer
3. GDC-0449 (vismodegib) - basal cell carcinoma
4. OncoVex - advanced melanoma
5. PLX4032 (RG7204) - melanoma
6. Ponatinib - leukemia
7. SGN-35 (brentuximab vedotin) - Hodgkin's lymphoma, anaplastic large cell lymphomas
8. Tivozanib (AV-951) - advanced renal cell carcinoma
9. T-DM1 (Trastuzumab-DM1) - breast cancer
10. XL184 (cabozantinib) -  prostate cancer

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