84440 - Oncological Pharmacology

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

Describe the mechanism of action, indications and limitations of oncologic and antiemetic drugs.

Course contents

Lecture 1 (2 h). MECHANISMS OF ACTIONS OF ANTICANCER AND ANTIEMETIC DRUGS – Part A. Compare and contrast mechanisms of action, indications, contraindications, adverse drug reactions of first-generation agents (traditional chemotherapy; e.g., methotrexate, anthracyclines) with second-generation medications (targeted therapy; monoclonal antibodies and small-molecules; e.g., trastuzumab, imatinib) and third-generation drugs (immunotherapy; e.g., immune checkpoint inhibitors).

Lecture 2 (2 h). MECHANISMS OF ACTIONS OF ANTICANCER AND ANTIEMETIC DRUGS – Part B. Describe the mechanisms of action, indications and limitations of antiemetic medications: anti-dopaminergic drugs (domperidone vs metoclopramide), 5-HT3 receptor antagonists (ondansetron), tachykinin NK1 receptor inhibitors (aprepitant). The role of corticosteroids. Combination regimens.

Lecture 3 (2 h). CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY OF ANTICANCER AND ANTIEMETIC DRUGS. Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics peculiarities of key anticancer drugs. Management of adverse drug reactions: the case of immune checkpoint inhibitors.  

Lecture 4 (2 h). SAFE PRESCRIBING IN ONCOLOGY. Understand peculiarities of drug development approach for oncological drugs. Clinically-relevant interactions with oncological and antiemetic drugs: two potential scenarios. Management of cancer pain (the role of opioids and medical cannabis), and depression.


Suggested texbooks:

1) Hitchings, Lonsdale, Burrage, Baker. The top 100 drugs. Clinical pharmacology and practical prescribing. 2nd Edition, 2019, Elsevier.

2) Waller and Sampson, Medical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 5th Edition. 2018. Elsevier (or previous Editions).

3) Goodman and Gilman’s Manual of Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 2nd Edition. 2014. The McGraw-Hill Companies.

Teaching methods

Interactive lectures where general rules are derived from practical examples taken from everyday experience. Teaching materials and slides are made available to the students via the moodle platform at least the day before the lesson. During the lessons, it is important for students to have direct access (online or off-line) to the teaching materials in order to be able to concentrate on specific contents rather than on reproducing slides.

Attending lessons plays an important role in the learning process. During lessons, the teachers guides the students in the critical reading of the teaching materials and provides opportunities for online formative assessment.

La final summative assessment takes also into account the level of critical thinking achieved by the student while illustrating the extracted topic.

Attendance to learning activities is mandatory; the minimum attendance requirement to be admitted to the final exam is 60% of lessons. For Integrated Courses (IC), the 60% attendance requirement refers to the total amount of I.C. lessons. Students who fail to meet the minimum attendance requirement will not be admitted to the final exam of the course, and will have to attend relevant classes again during the next academic year.

Professors may authorise excused absences upon receipt of proper justifying documentation, in case of illness or serious reasons. Excused absences do not count against a student’s attendance record to determine their minimum attendance requirement.

Assessment methods

The final exam will be an oral assessment to verify the achievement of objectives (critical thinking, knowledge of topics) within the integrated course of Neoplasia as a Disease Model (I.C.).

The assessment regarding "Oncological Pharmacology" will take into account critical reading of scientific literature, including the summary of products characteristics, about drugs of interest in oncology.

Teaching tools

Students are encouraged to attend the lectures with a printout of the relevant file downloaded from moodle or bringing electronic devices to access the relevant material during the lecture. This will allow easier interaction with the teacher when asked to discuss a problem.

Also e-learning material (including scientific literature and self-assessment tools) will be provided.

Office hours

See the website of Emanuel Raschi