A new technology assessment from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) states that the use of chemotherapy sensitivity and resistance assays (CSRAs) to select chemotherapeutic agents for cancer patients should not be undertaken outside of the clinical trial setting.
CSRAs are an in-vitro laboratory analysis used to help determine whether a specific chemotherapy regimen might inhibit tumor growth in a specific patient. This type of analysis contrasts with so-called empiric therapy, where chemotherapy treatment is chosen based on clinical literature describing outcomes achieved through a specific clinical trial.
ASCO underscores that the idea of tailoring treatment to individual patients – using effective agents while sparing unnecessary ones – has obvious and great appeal, but ultimately found that limitations in the literature about CSRAs, including small sample sizes, a lack of prospective studies, low yield of assays, and newer chemotherapy drugs that continue to be developed, cast doubt as to their actual effectiveness of CSRAs in determining a course of treatment.
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