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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Gershon Y. Locker, MD (Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine)
Description: This English edition of a book previously published in France is a compendium of anticancer chemotherapy protocols.
Purpose: It is intended as a single source of information about anticancer chemotherapy regimes.
Audience: It aims to be a reference source for the practicing oncologist, but is more suited for fellows in training or for non-oncologists who encounter the regimens in their patients or in the literature. It is written by respected European cancer physicians.
Features: The text begins with a brief discussion of practical management topics such as anti-emetics, neutropenic sepsis, pain control, and cytokines. This section is unreferenced and reflects the views of the authors and European practice (e.g., the use of heroin for pain). This is followed by a superficial review of individual chemotherapeutic agents. The heart of the book, the summary of combination regimens, is organized by disease site. For each malignancy an excellent table of single agent activity is supplied, as are tables summarizing each combination regimen, drug dose/schedule, and toxicity. Protocol indication, response rate, brief commentary, and a few references are included. The tables are the strongest and most useful aspect of the book, eliminating the need to wade through text to get at the desired information. Unfortunately the inclusion of some rarely used protocols and the omission of other common protocols is problematic and may reflect differences between U.S. and European practice. The "grading" of regimens by response rate rather than effect on survival or quality of life does not reflect the general consensus on the role of chemotherapy in oncologic practice. The absence of protocols for many hematologic malignancies and less common tumors is another shortcoming. Several errors detract from the overall reliability of the book.
Assessment: In theory this book could function as a quick reference, reducing the need to consult primary sources or oncologic text books. Given its weaknesses, for the American public, it cannot replace the tables of chemotherapy regimens found in the standard oncology texts. If rewritten to add American practice and more malignancies, it could be a valuable addition to the practical oncology literature.