NEW ANTINEOPLASTIC AGENTS AND EDUCATION PROGRAM IN MEDICAL ONCOLOGY BY THE JAPANESE SOCIETY OF MEDICAL ONCOLOGY

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Abstract

When oncologists face the patient who needs to be treated by a newly approved anti-neoplastic agent but it is not familiar to them, they feel insecure to apply. This is often experienced unless one did a phase 1 and 2 studies for that particular agent. Since institutions involved in early phase studies are limited, this happens all the time. They study the drug information and related literature by themselves sometimes together with nurses and pharmacists. In some centers, they make a team and learn the new drug in advance. This approach is very useful and safe to start using the new agent. However, if ones have little experience with the antineoplastic agents, they may not give particular attention to know details of the drugs. Moreover, they may not know the biology of the tumor well and patients' conditions necessary to start cancer treatment. There is some criticism on an anti-EGFR agent in which it was administered by many physicians at a stroke to patients including some in a poor condition, and eventually severe pulmonary toxic effects were supervened. If a new drug needs special attention, the course of learning its guidance should be provided to physicians who are to prescribe it. Curriculum in medical oncology by the Japanese Society of Medical Oncology (JSMO) includes cancer biology, clinical pharmacology, and fundamental treatment strategy to get a maximum tumor response with a minimal toxicity. It is apparent that new cancer agents must be used by the oncologists or physicians who have a sufficient experience with anticancer drugs. If one has little experience with the drug but has to use it for the patient living far from the cancer treatment center for example, one must get an appropriate consultation by the affiliated oncologists. It is important to take care of the patient by the team for cancer therapy including supportive and emergency treatment, not only within the particular institution but also in the local area involving its affiliated hospitals and private offices. Cancer treatment by the oncology team is so important that the education program should include the team approach and it should be routinely taken place in the training hospital certified by JSMO.

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