Volume 2 Issue 10, October 2005
The best practice for use of oncology guidelines is discussed in this Viewpoint article. Clinical practice guidelines should not be used as cost-savings devices, but as tools for ensuring the best care of each individual patient. Guidelines should be accessible, flexible and allow participation of those intended to use them.
Evaluating the prognostic value of a tumor marker is an important component of oncology research and has an important impact on treatment decisions. The authors discuss whether the usual statistical approach used to assess prognostic markers can enhance predictive accuracy, and they describe the merits of a more direct approach.
Biochemical markers of bone turnover are considered useful in the diagnosis and follow-up of patients with malignant bone disease. Although many markers of bone turnover are elevated in patients with established bone metastases, available evidence does not allow any final conclusions to be made regarding the accuracy and validity of these markers for early diagnosis. The diagnostic and prognostic value of bone markers for clinical outcome when used in combination with new diagnostic techniques could pave the way for improvements of clinical assessment, as discussed in this review.
The development of new drugs that are both safe and effective is paramount for the future of cancer chemoprevention. Sporn and Liby critically discuss the issues that have hampered the advances of chemoprevention in the oncology field, and emphasize the need for discovery of new targets and chemopreventive agents, offering new insights into how new approaches tested in the scientific setting could be introduced in clinical practice.
The treatment of head and neck cancer requires a multidisciplinary approach, and positron emission tomography/CT is a rapidly evolving technique that is profoundly altering the staging, radiation treatment planning and clinical management decisions for this disease. Franket al. discuss the use of PET/CT for staging and detecting both primary or recurrent head and neck cancer and its applications in radiotherapy treatment planning.