Anticancer oral therapy: Emerging related issues

Vittorio Gebbia, Pietro Giuffrida, Helga Lipari, Calogero Buscarino, Pietro Giuffrida, Giuseppe Luigi Banna, Paolo Tralongo, Francesco Ferraù, Rosaria Condorelli, Elena Collovà, Sebastiano Cavallaro, Calogero Infurna Buscarino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Citations (Scopus)


The use of oral anticancer drugs has shown a steady increase. Most patients prefer anticancer oral therapy to intravenous treatment primarily for the convenience of a home-based therapy, although they require that the efficacy of oral therapy must be equivalent and toxicity not superior than those expected with the intravenous treatment. A better patient compliance, drug tolerability, convenience and possible better efficacy for oral therapy as compared to intravenous emerge as the major reasons to use oral anticancer agents among oncologists. Inter- and intra-individual pharmacokinetic variations in the bioavailability of oral anticancer drugs may be more relevant than for intravenous agents. Compliance is particularly important for oral therapy because it determines the dose-intensity of the treatment and ultimately treatment efficacy and toxicity. Patient stands as the most important determinant of compliance. Possible measures for an active and safe administration of oral therapy include a careful preliminary medical evaluation and selection of patients based on possible barriers to an adequate compliance, pharmacologic issues, patient-focused education, an improvement of the accessibility to healthcare service, as well as the development of home-care nursing symptom-focused interventions. Current evidences show similar quality of life profile between oral and intravenous treatments, although anticancer oral therapy seems to be more convenient in terms of administration and reduced time lost for work or other activities. Regarding cost-effectiveness, current evidences are in favor of oral therapy, mainly due to reduced need of visits and/or day in hospital for the administration of the drug and/or the management of adverse events. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-605
Number of pages11
JournalCancer Treatment Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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