Could a revision of the current guidelines for cancer drug use improve the quality of cancer treatment?
Theodor H Lippert,1 Hans-Jörg Ruoff,1 Manfred Volm2
1Medical Faculty, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany; 2Medical Faculty, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
Abstract: Clinical practice guidelines are indispensable for such a variable disease as malignant solid tumors, with the complex possibilities of drug treatment. The current guidelines may be criticized on several points, however. First, there is a lack of information on the outcome of treatment, such as the expected success and failure rates. Treating not only drug responders but also nonresponders, that is, patients with drug resistance, must result in failures. There is no mention of the possibility of excluding the drug nonresponders, identifiable by special laboratory tests and no consideration is given to the different side effects of the recommended drug regimens. Nor are there any instructions concerning tumor cases for which anticancer drug treatment is futile. In such cases, early palliative care may lead to significant improvements in both life quality and life expectancy. Not least, there is no transparency concerning the preparation of the guidelines: persons cannot be identified who could give a statement of conflicts of interest, and responsibility is assumed only by anonymous medical associations. A revision of the current guidelines could considerably improve cancer treatment.
Keywords: anticancer drugs, quality of guidelines, critical remarks
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