Focusing on improving patient’s quality of life could advance supportive care in cancer, says GlobalData

Technological advancements in oncology, such as the introduction of immuno-oncology therapies and targeted therapies, have improved quality of life (QoL) compared to conventional treatment options, such as chemotherapy regimens. Although disparities exist between individual indications within supportive care in cancer (SCC), a concerted effort on improving QoL and an increased understanding of disease mechanisms that can help identify potential new drug targets are expected to advance the field of SCC, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

GlobalData’s latest report, ‘Supportive Care in Cancer’, identifies SCC as an evolving discipline of medicine that is critical for the holistic management of patients with cancer. While cure of the disease or an improvement in survival is of paramount importance for patients with cancer, SCC is particularly significant when these objectives are difficult to achieve. Even though therapy advancements in cancer have helped to improve clinical outcomes in patients with cancer, a key finding from the report is that disparity exists between various SCC indications.

Vinie Varkey, MSc, Senior Pharma Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Indications such as chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting and bone metastasis are well-served in terms of approved therapies, whereas others such as chemotherapy-induced oral mucositis and chemotherapy- induced acral erythema have no approved therapies and therefore rely on off-label options to help alleviate related symptoms.”

A survey carried out by GlobalData revealed that treatment guidelines were observed to be more adhered to for indications that have approved marketed products versus indications for which off-label treatment options are used. The issue is further highlighted by the fact that survey respondents cited two main needs that need to be addressed to help advance the SCC field.

Varkey continues: “The need for therapies that can help improve QoL of patients with various SCC indications and the need to gain increased understanding of the underlying disease mechanisms are areas that oncologists acknowledged need to be addressed for transforming the existing treatment landscape.”

Complexity of the disease can also impede the progress of clinical trials in this area. Clinical heterogeneity associated with indications, such as chemotherapy-induced anemia, can pose as a significant challenge when it comes to selection and recruitment of patients for clinical trials in this indication.

Looking ahead, there is an anticipation that therapies in pipeline development hold promise in addressing these gaps.

Varkey adds: “Therapies that are currently in different stages of clinical development, especially those with novel mechanisms of action, have the potential to advance the SCC field, particularly for indications that are currently under-served in terms of approved therapies.”

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