Lack of approved drug indications


I cannot seem to make sense of the indications that are approved for particular drugs (cancer drugs in particular). It seems you now define “approved indication” when an indication is listed for the drug in a clinical trial with a maximum phase of IV. I reckoned this is the strategy, since this is in line with what is stated at the top Description paragraph of the Profile tab for a given drug.

A couple of examples that shows the lack of approved indications:

  1. Ipilimumab - a well-known immune checkpoint inhibitor that is now approved for multiple cancer types. However, in the Open Targets Platform Portal, it seems this drug is only approved for Melanoma.

  2. Olaparib - a well-known PARP inhibitor is now approved for multiple tumor types. According to data from the Open Targets Platform, only ovarian cancer seems to be the approved (tumor-type specific) indication.

Unless I am interpreting the indication data in in unintended manner, I think these aspects are fairly important elements to improve/rectify in future releases.

Thanks again for a great resource,


Hi @sigven! :wave:

Thank you for alerting us to missing indications in our drug index.

The data we use to power our drug index is provided by our colleagues at ChEMBL. They integrate drug and indication data from a number of sources, including, ATC, DailyMed, and FDA.

If there are missing indications for a specific drug, please contact the ChEMBL team at They can then update their database and when we process their latest release, it will update our drug index too.

Just out of curiosity, are there other research tools and platforms that you use to find drug indications? I am always interested to learn about the other tools our users rely on and will explore if we can potentially integrate their data.


Andrew :slight_smile:

Hi @ahercules,

Got it! I might approach ChEMBL with the observation. The thing is that the indications listed are all valid, it just seems to be a lag with respect to what is recorded in ChEMBL’s database and the continuous updates/additions of indications for different cancer drugs (i.e. by the FDA). With respect to other platforms, I have looked quite a bit, but I find that your platform is by far the strongest one, both with respect to structure, ease-of-use, and also up-to-date data for various knowledge sources. Some of the other larger drug databases (DrugBank, DrugCentral) are either missing this info or is not as comprehensive as I was hoping for. I’ll dig further to see whether any other tools/sources might be beneficial for your data integration routines.

Thanks for the swift feedback.