Modern blood cancer treatments require new approach for monitoring, reporting side effects

—Treatment changes including the advent of targeted and immune therapies have dramatically improved survival for blood cancers, but new report calls for improved evaluation of poorly understood side effects that may develop over time.—

Survival rates for blood cancers – including lymphoma, myeloma and some types of leukaemia – have dramatically increased over the past decade, due in great part to novel treatment approaches including molecularly-targeted therapies and immunotherapies.

In contrast to traditional forms of treatment which were largely episodic and finite (ie, a set number of cycles of intravenous chemotherapy), therapy for some haematological cancers may now be given continuously over years, or in some cases indefinitely.

However, a new Commission by The Lancet Haematology shows how current methods of reporting adverse events, focused on assessing a drug or regimen’s safety, often fail to also appropriately identify important delayed, chronic or cumulative effects that can affect patients substantially.

In particular, the toxicity over time and tolerability to the patient of new chronic or continuously administered therapies are not well defined, and are poorly captured by existing reporting mechanisms.

The Commission brings together 40 leading clinicians, clinical investigators, regulators, biostatisticians and patient advocates to analyse the evidence and propose


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