WHAT IS KNOWN AND OBJECTIVE: Chemotherapy drugs are often administered in combinations with predefined interdependent doses and cycle intervals. As yet, there is no global standardization system to describe these complex regimens in a universally comprehensive manner. The aim of this review is to identify which efforts for standardization have been undertaken and which recommendations for databases and nomenclature of chemotherapy regimens are available.
METHODS: A literature review was performed to identify all peer-reviewed full-text articles about oncology therapy regimen codification. In addition, the results of this search were evaluated and consensus recommendations from a European expert panel were subsequently added.
RESULTS: This review gives an overview of attempts to standardize chemotherapy nomenclature described in the literature, as well as of previously published identified gaps in regimen codification. In addition, we summarized the suggestions for improvement of chemotherapy codification found in the available literature, combining them with the expertise from a European expert panel of oncology pharmacists.
WHAT IS NEW AND CONCLUSIONS: We believe that one of the most important error-prevention measures is standardization. However, there is a paucity of data how it may be achieved. Currently available data suggest that standardization has a positive impact on usability for data networks, prescription software, safety and the measurement of the quality of cancer care delivery. Standardization is also a strong pre-requisite for all discussions including oncology pharmacists and oncologists when evaluating chemotherapy regimen in countries in Europe but also all over the world. The recommendations compiled in this review can help to support overdue standardization efforts in this important therapeutic area.