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Predicting the effects of cancer treatment

Cancer cells

An international research team has developed a mathematical model that predicts the side effects of a chemotherapy treatment for prostate cancer.

​Around 10-20 percent of patients have adverse side effects from the standard treatment with the chemotherapy drug docetaxel that forces them to discontinue the treatment. In the Prostate Cancer DREAM 9.5 Challenge, international researcher teams designed mathematical models predicting the likelihood of a patient discontinuing the docetaxel treatment due to adverse events. There were 61 models created for the competition and the model created by the joint team of the University of Turku and Turku University Hospital was one of seven to receive an award in the competition. The seven teams decided to collaborate outside the framework of the competition, resulting in refinements that led to a combined model that was more predictive than any of the individual submissions alone. The new, joint model divided patients into two groups with low and high risk of discontinuing docetaxel due to adverse side effects.

“The field is definitely moving toward a much more open sharing model of clinical trial data. This project is a great example of how you can gain new knowledge from existing data and how making clinical data open and freely accessible can maximize its use for the benefit of patients,” says Research Director Laura Elo from Turku Centre for Biotechnology.

The results were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology Clinical Cancer Informatics.