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Chemotherapy reduction for male cancer patients

Friday January 3rd, 2020

Men who undergo surgery for testicular cancer may be able to halve the amount of preventative chemotherapy they take, British researchers have reported.

A single cycle is as effective as the double cycle that is standard, according to the findings of a trial involving nearly 250 patients.

The findings were reported in European Urology yesterday.

Rather than undertaking a randomised study, the researchers compared the results of a single cycle with established data on the effectiveness of double cycle treatment.

Patients received a three-week cycle of bleomycin, etoposide and cisplatin during the study, organised by the Institute of Cancer Research, London, and University Hospitals Birmingham.

Within two years just three patients suffered a return of cancer, which, the researchers say, is "nearly identical" to evidence about the effect of two cycles.

Some 2.6% of patients suffered long-term side-effects and in total 41% suffered serious side-effects during treatment.

Researcher Professor Robert Huddart, from the Royal Marsden Hospital, London, said: “Men with testicular cancer who are at high risk of recurrence have generally been treated with two cycles of chemotherapy – but our new study found that one cycle was enough to stop their tumour from coming back.

“Reducing the overall dose of chemotherapy could spare young men who have their whole lives ahead of them from long-term side effects, and also means they will need fewer hospital visits for their treatment.

“This new trial is already changing clinical practice on a global scale and is set to improve patients’ quality of life as well as reducing the cost of testicular cancer treatment.

“Reducing the number of cycles and the dosage of chemotherapy for testicular cancer could save the NHS money, and free up valuable hospital time and resources.”

Professor Emma Hall, deputy director of the clinical trials and statistics unit at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said:

“We tend to be focused on whether we can cure a cancer or not, but for a disease like testicular cancer which affects young people, it is also crucial to ensure treatment does not leave patients with a lifetime of adverse effects.

“There is an important balance to be struck in giving men enough chemotherapy to stop their testicular cancer from coming back, without giving them so much that they suffer unnecessary side effects.

“Our study has found strong evidence to suggest that testicular cancer chemotherapy can be safely reduced from two cycles to just one – making their treatment shorter, kinder and cheaper.”

European Urology 2 January 2019

Tags: Cancer | Men's Health | Pharmaceuticals | UK News

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