Background: The increased incidence of malignancies in patients with chronic renal failure has been discussed since the mid-70s. On the other hand, the high frequency of chronic renal insufficiency among cancer patients has been recently assessed in the Insuffisance Rénale et Médicaments Anticancéreux Study which demonstrated a prevalence as high as 50%-60% of the patients for all stages of kidney disease. Furthermore, the incidence of end-stage renal disease is growing worldwide and so is the number of patients on chronic dialysis, hemodialysis (HD) for the large majority of them. As a result, the question of cytotoxic drug handling in those patients in terms of dosage adjustment and time of administration regarding the dialysis sessions needs to be addressed to optimize cytotoxic drug therapy in those patients.
Methods: We reviewed the international literature on the pharmacokinetics, efficacy, tolerance and dosage adjustment of cytotoxic drugs used to treat solid tumor patients and when available, specific literature on HD cancer patients.
Results: From these data, dosing recommendations are given for the most prescribed cytotoxic drugs in clinical practice.
Conclusions: Dosage adjustments are often necessary in HD cancer patients. These adaptations have to be carefully carried out to optimize drug exposure, ensure efficacy and reduce the risk of side-effects.