ASCO has issued new clinical guidance for treating patients with gastrointestinal cancers amid a nationwide shortage of carboplatin and cisplatin. The two chemotherapy agents, in extremely short supply, are essential to treating an array of gastrointestinal cancers—such as esophageal, pancreatic, and colorectal cancers. The new clinical guidance provides five general principles outlining reasonable drug substitutes and how to prioritize patient needs.
Julie R. Gralow, MD, FACP, FASCO
ASCO will also issue guidance for treating breast, genitourinary, and lung cancers and endorsed guidance from the Society of Gynecologic Oncology for treating gynecologic cancers such as cervical and ovarian cancers. Further, ASCO published overarching guidance for all cancer types that may be affected by the shortage, and clinicians can consult the full complement of published treatment guidelines on -ASCO’s website in the interim at https://old-prod.asco.org/practice-patients/guidelines.
“This shortage is among the most severe we have seen in a long time, and its ripple effects are being felt across the country,” stressed Julie R. Gralow, MD, FACP, FASCO, Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President of ASCO. “The clinical guidelines are essential to helping clinicians deliver the best possible care for the best patient outcomes despite these dire shortages,” she said.
The Association of Clinical Oncology, an affiliated professional organization of ASCO, is working with policymakers to help mitigate the shortages and prevent similar situations from occurring in the future. Clinicians are encouraged to report shortages to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and to contact their representatives in Congress to make clear the urgent need for action.
Among the short-term policies ASCO is supporting is for the FDA to continue importing drugs from other countries as necessary and require manufacturers to notify the FDA if they notice an increased demand for any of their products. Over the long term, U.S. regulators should create a comprehensive list of critical drugs needed for emergency responses and saving lives.
Originally published in ASCO Daily News. © American Society of Clinical Oncology. ASCO Daily News, June 2, 2023. All rights reserved.