Despite decades of research and treatment advances, cancer remains a global health problem. Reduced access to care during the COVID-19 pandemic has led to delays in cancer diagnosis and treatment for many, which could lead to increased mortality in the coming years, further emphasizing the need to develop effective treatments . The combination of anti-cancer drugs, or combination therapy, has been hailed as a “cornerstone of cancer therapy” since it targets key pathways synergistically, thereby enhancing efficacy compared to monotherapies . Combination therapy could reduce drug resistance while providing anti-cancer benefits such as reducing tumor growth and metastatic potential [2, 3]. Furthermore, if at least one of the drugs already has regulatory approval, both research and therapy costs can be reduced .
Unfortunately, identifying effective anti-cancer drug combinations is challenging since the number of possible combinations exceeds what can be tested clinically . Jaaks et al. have systematically identified active drug combinations using the Genomics of Drug Sensitivity Cancer cell line screening platform to measure the effects of 2025 pairwise drug combinations in breast, colon, and pancreatic cancer cell lines, the results of which were published in Nature earlier this year . This publication review will take a closer look at how these combination therapies were screened, as well as which therapies were determined to be effective.