GLOBAL ADVANCES IN HEALTH AND MEDICINE
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case reports on cancer therapies: the Urgent Need to
improve the reporting Quality
Marietta Kaszkin-Bettag, PhD; Wolfram Hildebrandt, MSc, MA
author affiliation urrent guidelines for certain cancer therapies and Embase. When collecting the data from these case
mainly provide recommendations for therapy reports in a systematic manner—eg, in a spreadsheet
PhD, is a scientific expert
and she and Wolfram options treating the primary tumors. However, detailing demographic data, baseline characteristics,
Hildebrandt, MSC, MA, first-choice treatments for advanced or metastasizing and details about the therapies and treatment out-
are Heads of Preclinical/ tumors are described only rarely if at all. In such cases, comes—several gaps with essential information miss-
Medical Affairs & Health
one or more individual treatment options are chosen ing were identified.
PharmaLex GmbH, by the physician depending on the medical need of the Here are some observations made during the
Manheim, Germany. patient and considering the acceptance of this treat- screening of case reports on therapies for patients with
ment by the patient. Often, well-known drugs are metastasizing basal cell carcinoma. This screening was
Marietta selected with a different dosing than is indicated in the undertaken to identify effective therapies from daily
Kaszkin-Bettag, PhD drug information leaflet. In other cases, drugs not yet practice for this particular type of cancer.
marietta.kaszkin- approved for this particular type of cancer are used off In several case reports, no description of the
label or certain therapies are used in combination or patient’s medical history, concomitant diseases and
citation consecutively in a manner not reported before. With medications, or previous treatments for the primary
Global Adv Health Med. the increasing research on personalized medicine, par- tumor(s) is given. More than once, no dosage for drugs
ticularly in treating cancer, case reports on innovative used for chemotherapy was reported and no indication
drug therapies or newly developed surgical interven- of treatment cycles or duration of treatment was given.
Cancer, treatment, tions may provide extremely valuable information in In a report presenting a patient with pulmonary metas-
quality, case reports, instances where randomized controlled trials may not tasis from a giant polypoid basal cell carcinoma in the
be feasible (eg, because of a low patient number or lumbosacral area, resection and chemotherapy were
medical history ethical considerations). Moreover, they may support applied with a negative outcome, as the patient died 12
the identification and selection for further clinical months after tumor resection because of tumor pro-
research of a special subpopulation of people who gression. However, the report does not even specify
respond to a certain treatment. which drug(s) for chemotherapy was given, report the
There is already a significant source of informa- dosage and duration of treatment, or offer a conclusion
tion available in the physician’s patient records for regarding the negative clinical outcome.4 It was also
individualized treatments adjusted to an individual found that th