Viewing Cancer Treatment as a Game to Find Strategies That Improve Patient Outcomes

Game theory-wise treatment plans to advance the standard of care include  men with advanced prostate cancer

August 9. 2018. Game theory can be used to identify potential flaws in current cancer treatment approaches and to select new strategies to improve outcomes in patients with metastatic cancer, according to a review study published online today, August 9, in JAMA Oncology.

Authored by a mathematician, an evolutionary biologist, and clinical physicians from the Moffitt Cancer Center and Maastricht University in the Netherlands, the study challenges decades-old methods. The usual method of treating metastatic cancer involves repeatedly administering the same drug(s) until disease progression. The drugs are given according to Maximum Tolerated Dose (MTD), i.e. the highest dose of a drug or treatment that does not cause intolerable side effects. The maximum tolerated dose is decided via clinical trials by testing increasing doses on different groups of people until the highest dose with acceptable side effects is found.

“Current treatments for metastatic cancers, by giving the same drug repeatedly at the maximum tolerated dose, can inadvertently increase the speed with which cancer cells can evolve effective counter measures and then regrow,” said Robert A. Gatenby, M.D., co-director of Moffitt’s Center of Excellence in Evolutionary Therapy, one of the leaders of this new line of research. Continue reading “Viewing Cancer Treatment as a Game to Find Strategies That Improve Patient Outcomes”