Is the European pediatric medicine regulation working for children and adolescents with cancer?

Clin Cancer Res. 2013 Mar 15;19(6):1315-25. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-12-2551. Epub 2013 Jan 17.


The European Pediatric Medicine Regulation was launched in 2007 to provide better medicines for children. Five years later, the number of new anticancer drugs in early development in the pediatric population remains low, and most children with cancer are still largely denied access to innovative drugs in Europe, as compared with the United States. We analyzed individual pediatric investigation plan (PIP) and waiver decisions for oncology drugs and all oncology drugs that have been approved for marketing authorization since 2007 in Europe. Among the 45 approved PIPs, 33% concern leukemias and lymphomas, 29% solid tumors, 13% brain tumors, and 20% a drug for supportive care. No specific PIP exists for life-threatening diseases such as high-risk neuroblastoma, whereas there are several PIPs in extremely rare malignancies in children and adolescents such as gastrointestinal stromal tumor, melanoma, thyroid cancer, and chronic myeloid leukemia. This paradoxical situation is due to approval of a PIP being driven by the adult indication. Twenty-six of 28 authorized new oncology drugs have a potentially relevant mechanism of action for pediatric malignancies, but 50% have been waived because the adult condition does not occur in children. The most striking example is crizotinib. Implementation of the pediatric regulation should no longer be driven by the adult indication but should be guided instead by the biology of pediatric tumors and the mechanism of action of a drug. This change will be achievable through voluntary PIPs submitted by Pharma or revocation of the oncology class waiver list.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Drug Approval / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Humans
  • Marketing
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pediatrics / legislation & jurisprudence*


  • Antineoplastic Agents