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Screening for DPYD variants can enable personalised chemotherapy treatment


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Cancer chemotherapy treatments remain a tight balance between maximising effectiveness while minimising the toxicity burden for the patient.

Chemotherapy drugs that are used to treat various cancers cause severe or life-threatening adverse effects for around 10-40% of treated patients.

Pre-emptively testing for the presence of dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPYD) gene variants before patients start fluoropyrimidine-based chemotherapy could enable clinicians to reduce the dose or select alternative therapies for these patients.

The study used hospital records of all cancer patients in Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) NHS Trust and compared 466 patients.

Results demonstrate that introducing mandatory DPYD testing would be highly cost-effective. 

Associate Professor Apostolos Tsiachristas, who led the study, said: ‘This study provides evidence from a real-world setting that upfront screening for DPYD variants can enable the provision of personalised chemotherapy treatment to effectively avert toxic side effects for high-risk patients.

The toxicity and cost evaluation of the ToxNav test, which can detect 18 distinct DPYD gene variations, was published today in BMC Cancer by researchers from the Health Economics Research Centre (HERC) at Oxford Population Health.

Chemotherapy treats patients but the lethal effect could be gotten down by preliminary testing

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Apostolos Tsiachristas

Associate Professor at University of Oxford

BMC Cancer

Open access, peer-reviewed journal that considers articles on all aspects of cancer research

Oxford Population Health

One of the largest medical science division in the University of Oxford