FDA Approvals, News & UpdatesIssue Introductions

Advances in Treating Patients with Cancer: A Look at Recent FDA Oncology Approvals

January 2021 – A Patient Guide to Recent FDA-Approved Oncology Drugs
Nicholas Sarlis, MD, PhD, FACP
Senior Oncology Advisory Consultant

The world of oncology can be a complicated one, and understanding which medicines are a potential option for you—and all the implications from a choice of therapy—can be daunting. To shed light on the most recent oncology drug approvals in the United States, we offer a comprehensive look at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) drug approval process, a directory of the most recent drug approvals for cancer, as well as select drug profiles. Specifically, you will find:

  • Infographic of the FDA Drug Approval Process:
    This chart walks you through the typical way a pharmaceutical drug comes to market
  • Directory of oncology drugs approved for use in the past year:
    Arranged by type of cancer, the directory lists the drugs that received FDA approval in the past 12 months. You may notice that some drugs were previously approved for use in other types of cancer. You may also notice that some drugs were approved to treat more than one type of cancer. We will point this out in each entry, as well as provide pertinent resource information
  • Select Drug Profiles:
    The drugs featured in our “Profiles” section are thoroughly explored to give you top-line information about the types of cancer that drug can treat, how it works, and what side effects it may cause. After each of these profiles, I will offer my insights in a special, brief commentary called “Dr. Sarlis Says.”

There have been so many advances in our ability to effectively treat patients with cancer. From personalized treatment with targeted therapies to the latest in immunotherapies; from chemotherapies to hormone therapies, there are more treatment options now than ever before. I hope this knowledge is both useful and comforting to you, and even more, I hope it empowers you to remain hopeful during your prescribed course of treatment.

You have a role to play too. As an engaged patient, you can educate yourself about the drug your oncologist prescribed. There is a wealth of information on the official website for each given drug as well as resources to support you physically, emotionally, and financially. I must also give a word of warning: it is extremely important that you access only reputable websites when acquiring information, considering the amount of factually wrong information on the Internet. For this reason, we outline those reliable websites in each entry.

On behalf of all of us at CONQUER: the patient voice, we are pleased to offer you this guide and wish you all the best.


Nicholas Sarlis, MD, PhD, FACP

Dr. Sarlis is a senior oncology advisory consultant. His past posts include senior clinical investigator at the National Institutes of Health, associate professor at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, vice president of Incyte Corporation, and chief medical officer of SELLAS Life Sciences Group.

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Last modified: February 19, 2021

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