Adherence, compliance and persistence to oral antineoplastic therapy: a review focused on chemotherapeutic and biologic agents.

Research paper by Vittorio V Gebbia, Giuseppe G Bellavia, Francesco F Ferraù, Maria Rosaria MR Valerio

Indexed on: 14 Dec '11Published on: 14 Dec '11Published in: Expert opinion on drug safety


To date, orally administered chemotherapy and biologic agents represent a significant percentage of all antineoplastic treatments in several types of cancer, which are most likely to increase in the near future. In this scenario, the issue of adherence and persistence to oral therapy is a key issue since poor compliance to oral antineoplastic treatments may negatively influence patients' clinical outcomes and, in turn, cause an increase in costs, number of hospitalizations and time spent in the hospital.The issue of adherence to new oral chemotherapeutic and/or biologic agents has not been deeply evaluated and data published in medical literature are quite scarce. Adherence is a multidimensional phenomenon, which may be influenced by patient- and health-care provider-related factors, anticancer therapy itself, education and socioeconomic aspects. Patients' selection plays, therefore, a key role in maximizing adherence and persistence to oral therapies. Treating health-care practitioners should first evaluate patient reliability to avoid prescribing oral treatments to patients with socioeconomic and medical conditions, which may predict poor adherence.Adherence and persistence to new oral biologic agents, which are linked to several side effects and whose use is constantly widening, should represent a main endpoint of clinical research in the nearest future.