Exisulind (Aptosyn™, Cell Pathways, Inc.) is the first of a new class of targeted, pro-apoptotic drugs that show promise in the treatment of cancer. These agents induce apoptosis (i.e., programmed cell death) in a broad range of pre-cancerous and cancerous tissues without affecting normal cells. The antineoplastic effect of exisulind appears to be the result of activation of protein kinase G (PKG) which leads to multiple downstream effects culminating in apoptosis. Exisulind has demonstrated antineoplastic activity in solid tumour and haematological cancer cell lines and is an inhibitor of tumour growth in rodent models of colon, prostate, bladder, mammary and lung cancer. Preclinical data evaluating selective apoptotic antineoplastic drugs (SAANDs) in combination with various chemotherapy drugs indicates additive or synergistic antineoplastic effects. In clinical studies, exisulind prevented colorectal polyp formation in patients with familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) over 24 months. In a randomised, placebo-controlled study of prostate cancer patients, exisulind inhibited the rise of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in men with PSA progression after radical prostatectomy. Exisulind has been well-tolerated by most patients in clinical trials. In conclusion, preclinical evidence and early clinical results suggest that exisulind and other drugs in this class may have wide applications in treating cancer both as monotherapy and in combination with chemotherapy and other targeted agents.