Health: Short course

Vital Signs
Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online
New hope for children with bone cancer has come from a trial showing that patients who have a short course of two anti-cancer drugs fare just as well as those who have a longer course of 10 drugs.

Osteosarcoma is a rare disease mainly affecting young people aged 10 to 20. Standard treatment involves a long course of chemotherapy in which 10 drugs are given over 44 weeks. The side effects of these toxic drugs are sometimes so unpleasant that treatment has to be stopped, raising the risk of a recurrence.

Now researchers in London and New York report in The Lancet that a combination of two drugs is just as effective in eliminating the cancer and is better tolerated by patients. However, the cure rate for osteosarcoma is still "unacceptably low", researchers say, with only two thirds of the patients still alive after five years.