Current cancer drug assessment methods 'may be outdated'

11 August 2016

The current methods used to assess the performance of cancer drugs may not be accurately conveying their potential benefits, according to a new study.

Research from the University of Colorado Cancer Center has indicated that the RECIST methodology, which measures the changing dimensions of a tumour to show a patient's response to chemotherapy and radiation, may now be outdated.

This is because many modern targeted therapies do not immediately kill cancer cells but instead work by interrupting their ability to grow and proliferate, often through the cessation of key metabolic processes.

Cells affected by targeted therapies in this way eventually die, but cell death and tumour shrinkage are not immediate, meaning the RECIST method may be making some of these therapies look like they are performing worse than they are in actuality.

A recent Journal of Clinical Oncology study showed that 15 per cent of patients who are taken off clinical trials due to a perceived lack of response to a trial medication may actually be benefiting, but in a way the RECIST method cannot capture.

Dr Natalie Serkova, investigator at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, said: "New measures are needed to show before months have passed whether these drugs are working."

Posted by Jeanette Royston

 


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