EPICC study: evaluation of pharmaceutical intervention in cancer care

J Clin Pharm Ther. 2015 Apr;40(2):196-203. doi: 10.1111/jcpt.12242. Epub 2015 Jan 16.


What is known and objectives: In cancer care, clinical pharmacists contribute to improving prevention and management of drug-related problems (DRPs). The 3-year EPICC study (Evaluation of Pharmaceutical Intervention in Cancer Care) aimed to collect and analyse pharmaceutical interventions (PIs) in oncology.

Methods: The free online version of the French Society of Clinical Pharmacy (SFPC) coding system, ACT-IP, was used, supplemented by a standardized dedicated cancer-care decision tree.

Results: A total of 29,589 medication orders (77,004 anticancer drug preparations) were analysed. Eight hundred and ninety-four PIs were recorded. ACT-IP identified 54·1% of DRPs as concerning over- or underdosage. The standardized dedicated cancer-care decision tree identified the three principal causes of dosage problems: 50·2% due to miscalculation, 20% to omission of dose adjustment and 12% to poor choice of antineoplastic regimen. About 13·8% of DRPs were adverse effects and 3·9% were drug-drug interactions. The decision tree showed that 22% of adverse events could be circumvented by a switch within the same drug family and 72% of drug-drug interactions would have led to increased neoplastic toxicity.

Discussion: Pharmaceutical analysis of prescription forms contributes to medication safety in cancer care, and the present dedicated decision tree highlights additional information about DRPs and PIs. The DRP rate (3% of prescriptions) was consistent with the literature. The pharmacist has a role to play in optimizing the management of patients with cancer in terms of dose adjustment, drug toxicity management, improvement of administration and drug-drug interactions.

What is new and conclusion: This study, highlighting PIs in cancer care, is the first of this scale in terms of number of prescriptions analysed (nearly 30 000). Results demonstrated the specificity of DRPs and PIs for patients with cancer and the value of a dedicated coding system in cancer care.

Keywords: cancer care; clinical pharmacy in oncology; drug-related problems; pharmaceutical intervention.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Interactions
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Hospital Bed Capacity, 500 and over
  • Hospitals, Teaching / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medication Errors / prevention & control*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Pharmacy Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*


  • Antineoplastic Agents