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Transcript: Side effects associated with cancer treatments

Last updated:20th May 2024
Published:20th May 2024

Dr Matti Aapro

All transcripts are created from interview footage and directly reflect the content of the interview at the time. The content is that of the speaker and is not adjusted by Medthority.


Today's treatments compared to a few years ago have certainly changed with the advent not only of immunotherapy, but also of more and more combination treatments between either biological agents, or cytotoxic drugs and radiation therapy, for example.
So, depending on the profile of the new drugs that have been made available, we will be encountering side effects that we were not accustomed to have, even if they have the same name. Let me give you the example, diarrhoea. Diarrhoea related to chemotherapy is completely different in the way it is provoked by the treatment to diarrhoea related to immunotherapy. And, we have to learn how to manage the latter one, which is managed in a different way, and which can if were not properly managed lead to very severe complications in patients. We also have seen with the new treatments, again, the reappearance of side effects that we had to deal with a few years ago, and actually from the beginning of treatment with chemotherapy like for example, interstitial lung disease, which existed since the times of methotrexate, one of the oldest drugs that we have ever had in oncology through bleomycin through everolimus. And, now we face this same type of toxicity, of course, with somewhat different mechanisms with trastuzumab deruxtecan, a wonderful drug, but which again needs a specific follow-up of these patients so that they do not have this toxicity in terms that could be life threatening. So, we have to learn with the new drugs to deal with older side effects, which actually have a new mechanism and which have to be dealt with in a different way.