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Br J Cancer. 2010 Dec 7;103(12):1815-21. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6605979. Epub 2010 Nov 9.

Cancer and renal insufficiency results of the BIRMA study.

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Service ICAR, Department of Nephrology, Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, 47-83 Boulevard de l'Hôpital, Paris 75013, France.



half of anticancer drugs are predominantly excreted in urine. Dosage adjustment in renal insufficiency (RI) is, therefore, a crucial issue. Moreover, patients with abnormal renal function are at high risk for drug-induced nephrotoxicity. The Belgian Renal Insufficiency and Anticancer Medications (BIRMA) study investigated the prevalence of RI in cancer patients, and the profile/dosing of anticancer drugs prescribed.


primary end point: to estimate the prevalence of abnormal glomerular filtration rate (GFR; estimated with the abbreviated Modification of Diet in Renal Disease formula) and RI in cancer patient. Secondary end point: to describe the profile of anticancer drugs prescribed (dose reduction/nephrotoxicity). Data were collected for patients presenting at one of the seven Belgian BIRMA centres in March 2006.


a total of 1218 patients were included. The prevalence of elevated SCR (> or =1.2 mg per 100 ml) was 14.9%, but 64.0% had a GFR<90 ml min(-1) per 1.73 m(2). In all, 78.6% of treated patients (n=1087) were receiving at least one drug needing dosage adjustment and 78.1% received at least one nephrotoxic drug. In all, 56.5% of RI patients receiving chemotherapy requiring dose reduction in case of RI did not receive dose adjustment.


the RI is highly frequent in cancer patients. In all, 80% of the patients receive potentially nephrotoxic drugs and/or for which dosage must be adjusted in RI. Oncologists should check the appropriate dose of chemotherapeutic drugs in relation to renal function before prescribing.

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