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April 25, 2017 - Biosimilar monoclonal antibodies in older patients

Unlike generic small molecule drugs, the complexity of biosimilars – including post-translational glycosylation -- means that even though they are designed to be highly similar to the reference product they may not be identical to it. That said, in products that have been approved via stringent regulatory pathways, there should be no clinically meaningful differences in safety or potency.

The hope is that the reduced cost of generic monoclonal antibodies will expand access to effective treatments. Elderly cancer patients should be among those who benefit. Chronological age in itself should be no barrier to accessing the most effective and best tolerated cancer therapies. But there may be some uncertainties about the optimal treatment of older patients since they are under-represented in pivotal trials.

SIOG president Stuart Lichtman (MSKCC, New York, USA) and colleagues Thomas Reske and Ira Jacobs explore the implications of biosimilars for older cancer patients in a supplement to the Journal of Geriatric Oncology.