Antibiotics HALVE life expectancy of cancer sufferers
... NHS medics reveal in world first at US conference
- Antibiotics significantly shortens the lives of some cancer patients, study shows
- Lead author Nadina Tinsley said the 'challenge is striking the right balance'
- Researchers looked at a group of 303 cancer patients, those on antibiotics lived for 317 while those who had not taken them survived for 651 days
Antibiotics may significantly shorten the lives of cancer patients receiving immunotherapy treatment, a UK study has shown.
Taking the pills to treat minor infections could be unnecessarily affecting length of survival as GPs and oncologists were urged to prescribe with caution.
The researchers, from the NHS Christie Hospital in Manchester, said a balance must be struck between preventing serious infection in cancer patients and avoiding overuse of antibiotics.
The study, presented at the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting in Chicago, is thought to be the largest and 'most robust' of its kind.
Researchers analysed data from 303 patients with skin cancer, renal and lung cancer, who were treated with immunotherapy drugs' at Christie NHS Foundation Trust between 2015 and 2017.
Survival rates among patients who took antibiotics - at any point from two weeks before their immunotherapy started to six weeks after the treatment finished - were compared with patients who did not take any.
The antibiotic group lived for around 317 days while those who had not taken them survived for 651 days, the study found.
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