CANCER: A Genetic Test that can Asses the Risk of Side Effects from 5-FU and Xeloda.

A March 21 article published in La Presse included the following fact: “one of the most commonly used chemotherapy drugs is putting tens of Quebec residents in the ICU each year – and even kills some of them”. [1]

What is the reason for this? Marie-Claude Malboeuf’s March 21 article focused on two drugs in particular – 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) and Xeloda – that are primarily used to treat colorectal, breast, throat, neck and esophageal cancer. [2] Because different people metabolize these drugs in different ways, using them for certain people can lead to side effects and, in some cases, even death

We are not talking about isolated incidents here. The article reports that between 10% and 40% of patients who received 5-FU developed acute toxicity. [3] In fact, even the drug monograph states that “the rate of hospitalization due to treatment-related adverse events is 11.6%”. [4]

The response proposed by the Institut national d’excellence en santé et services sociaux (INESSS), the Ministry of Health and Social Services, and Génome Québec to this situation is: genetic testing.

Genetics makes it possible for us to determine whether or not a person produces enough of the enzymes used to metabolize 5-FU and Xeloda. We also now know that someone with slow metabolism is five times more likely to experience side effects from receiving 5-FU. [5]

 

A GENETIC TEST THAT CAN ASSESS THE RISK OF SIDE EFFECTS.

Fortunately, the INESSS is currently developing a genetic test that would mitigate these risks.

At BiogeniQ, we strongly support the initiative to make pharmacogenetic testing more widely available. Access to information is one of our core values, which is why we believe it is important to inform people that a genetic test to prevent this kind of side effect has been available in Quebec for a little over two years.


BiogeniQ’s Cancer Pharma Profile is a genetic test that uses a simple saliva sample to predict the patient's response to a number of drugs, including 5-FU and Xeloda. It generates fast results and is available now.


We believe it is important the Quebec population be aware of pharmacogenetics. This information not only helps ensure that each patient receives appropriate treatment, it also saves lives!

Learn more about pharmacogenetics.

Learn more about the Cancer Pharma Profile.

 

References:

[1] MALBOEUF, Marie-Claude. « Bientôt un test pour prévenir les complications fatales. », plus.lapresse.ca, [En ligne], 21 mars 2017, http://plus.lapresse.ca/screens/3717a289-a99e-4ad4-8bbb-75c702fad23f%7C_0.html (Page consultée le 21 mars 2017).

[2] GUILLET, Jean-françois. « Un médicament, c'est censé guérir, pas tuer », Lapresse.ca, [En ligne], 19 septembre 2015, http://www.lapresse.ca/la-voix-de-lest/actualites/201509/18/01-4901962-un-medicament-cest-cense-guerir-pas-tuer.php (Page consultée le 21 mars 2017).

[3] MALBOEUF, Marie-Claude. « Bientôt un test pour prévenir les complications fatales. », plus.lapresse.ca, [En ligne], 21 mars 2017, http://plus.lapresse.ca/screens/3717a289-a99e-4ad4-8bbb-75c702fad23f%7C_0.html (Page consultée le 21 mars 2017).

[4] MALBOEUF, Marie-Claude. « Bientôt un test pour prévenir les complications fatales. », plus.lapresse.ca, [En ligne], 21 mars 2017, http://plus.lapresse.ca/screens/3717a289-a99e-4ad4-8bbb-75c702fad23f%7C_0.html (Page consultée le 21 mars 2017).

[5] MALBOEUF, Marie-Claude. « Bientôt un test pour prévenir les complications fatales. », plus.lapresse.ca, [En ligne], 21 mars 2017, http://plus.lapresse.ca/screens/3717a289-a99e-4ad4-8bbb-75c702fad23f%7C_0.html (Page consultée le 21 mars 2017).