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May 2013 The Lancet. Oncology

Has the time come for metronomics in low-income and middle-income countries?

Auteurs

André N, Banavali S, Snihur Y, Pasquier E

Résumé

In 2008, 72% of cancer deaths occurred in low-income and middle-income countries, where, although there is a lower incidence of cancer than in high-income countries, survival rates are also low. Many patients are sent home to die, and an even larger number of patients do not have access to treatment facilities. New constraint-adapted therapeutic strategies are therefore urgently needed. Metronomic chemotherapy–the chronic administration of chemotherapy at low, minimally toxic doses on a frequent schedule of administration, with no prolonged drug-free breaks–has recently emerged as a potential strategy to control advanced or refractory cancer and represents an alternative for patients with cancer living in developing countries. This low-cost, well-tolerated, and easy to access strategy is an attractive therapeutic option in resource-limited countries. Moreover, combined with drug repositioning, additional anticancer effects can be achieved, ultimately resulting in improved cancer control while maintaining minimum cost of treatment. In this Personal View, we will briefly review the rationale behind the combination of metronomic chemotherapy and drug repositioning-an approach we term metronomics. We assess the clinical experience obtained with this kind of anticancer treatment and describe potential new developments in countries with limited resources. We also highlight the need for adapted clinical study endpoints and innovative models of collaboration between for-profit and non-profit organisations, to address the growing problem of cancer in resource-limited countries.

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