New system for reporting toxicity burden of cancer treatment

A new system for reporting the relative toxicity burden of different cancer treatments is proposed in an Article published early Online and in the July edition of The Lancet Oncology.

Professor Andy Trotti, H Lee Moffitt Cancer Centre, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, USA and colleagues assessed deficiencies in established methods for summarising adverse events, and devised their new method.

The new system, named TAME, places traditional adverse-event data into three concise risk domains: short term toxicity (T), adverse long term effects (A) and mortality risk (M), which are calculated for each treatment programme to generate an end-result (E) summary index.

The authors say: "This is an entirely new concept in risk assessment. It was specifically designed for the evaluation of cancer treatments. Traditional safety reporting methods were designed for low-risk non-cancer treatments, and are simply overwhelmed by the amount of toxicity data generated in cancer treatment programs. Thus, a new way to look at risk that is more relevant to oncology is needed."

Despite being in the early stages of development, TAME has managed to identify differences of up to 500% in acute toxicity burden between certain cancer treatments. Established methods only detected a 170% difference in short term effects between those treatments. Established summary methods were also found to disregard a large amount of important information, and only permit comparing rates of each type of side effect (in cancer treatments there are dozens of types), whereas TAME includes all types of severe side effects, and considers their relative frequency, using a concise scoring system. However there was little difference between TAME and established methods in detecting the variation of risk in events that happened late in treatment.

TAME aims to provide a "side-effects" summary index for each treatment, so that the "total toxicity price" of

Contact: Professor Andy Trotti

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