Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Not everyone needs a genetic test before taking Camptosar according to study

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A study from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill suggests that not everyone needs a genetic test prior to taking Camptosar (irinotecan).

Irinotecan, also known as Camptosar, is used as a second-line treatment for colorectal cancer. The FDA recommends screening for a gene that could make patients more susceptible to the harmful side effects of the drug, namely neutropenia, which is an abnormally low level of white blood cells.

The UNC researchers analyzed data from nine previous studies of irinotecan. They found that patients who received a medium or high dose had a greater risk of neutropenia if they had two copies of a specific variant of the gene UGTA1. At lower doses of the drug however, the risk was the same regardless of UGTA1 status.

The authors, led by Howard McLeod, Pharm.D., recommends that the FDA amend their guidelines to reflect this knowledge. Changing this guideline may help avoid unnecessary tests and expenses as well as quicken treatment waiting times.

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