The use of liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry for therapeutic drug monitoring of antibiotics in cancer patients

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Cancer remains a leading cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide. In addition to organ failure, the most frequent reasons for admission of cancer patients to intensive care units (ICU) are: infections and sepsis. As critically ill, the complexity of the health situation of cancer patients renders the standard antimicrobial regimen more complex and even inadequate which results in increased mortality rates. This is due to pathophysiological changes in the volume of distribution, increased clearance, as well as to organ dysfunction. While in the former cases a decrease in drug efficacy is observed, the hallmark of the latter one is overdosing leading to increased toxicity at the expense of efficacy. Furthermore, an additional risk factor is the potential drug-drug interaction between antibiotics and antineoplastic agents. Therefore, therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) is a necessity to improve the clinical outcome of antimicrobial therapy in cancer patients. To be applied in routine analysis the method used for TDM should be cheap, fast and highly accurate/sensitive. Furthermore, as ICU patients are treated with a cocktail of antibiotics the method has to cover the simultaneous analysis of antibiotics used as a first/second line of treatment. The aim of the current review is to briefly survey the pitfalls in the current antimicrobial therapy and the central role of TDM in dose adjustment and drug-drug interaction's evaluation. A major section is dedicated to summarize the currently published analytical methods and to shed light on the difficulties and potential problems that can be encountered during method development.

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