CHOP, FOLFOX, FOLFIRINOX, AHOX, ABVD, BEACOPP – I challenge any non-oncologist to tell me which of those is made up. Trying to keep track of different chemotherapy regimens, let alone research protocols, means following a dizzying array of letters.

The best-selling spiral-bound Pocket Guide to Chemotherapy Protocols, published by Jones & Bartlett, will arrive in its Seventh Edition in December 2011. Of more immediate interest, however, is the premier of its companion, the Pocket Guide to Hematologic Cancer Chemotherapy Protocols, in app form for the iPhone/iPad in August 2011. Users of the Pocket Guides, especially oncologists, oncology nurses, and oncology fellows, and medical residents should be interested in its debut, given the added convenience of mobile devices and the capacity to update information.

Edited by Edward Chu, MD, the chief of Hematology-Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the Pocket Guides represent powerful resources for oncology healthcare professionals. Here we find out how this venerated resource does when it makes the jump to mobile.

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The home screen of the app displays its 2 parts — Part I, which lists the individual hematologic agents, and Part II, which features the most commonly used single-agent and combination regimens for hematologic malignancies.

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We start with Part I, which lists the individual agents used for hematologic malignancies alphabetically. Interestingly, entries for most of these agents actually appear in our usual drug references, such as MedScape or Micromedex.

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Here, we use doxorubicin, or adriamycin, as our example. The entry begins with the chemical structure of the molecule.

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The buttons along the top allow for quickly browsing the sections of the drug reference, and for bookmarking a particular agent.

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The entry for each agent includes information about the classification, category, manufacturer, mechanism of action, mechanism of resistance, absorption/distribution/metabolism, indications, dosage range, drug interactions, special considerations, and toxicities. Clearly, a wealth of information tailored to oncology professionals –especially the indications, interactions, mechanism of resistance, special considerations, and toxicities—can be found with each entry here, with more in-depth information of use to them than found in Micromedex or Medscape drug references.

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Now we move to the second half of the Pocket Guide App. Part II includes information on the most commonly used single-agent and combination-agent regimens for hematologic malignancies. The regimens are sorted by the specific cancer type, then listed alphabetically.

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Here we see different regimens for multiple myeloma. Note that each regimen is accompanied by a reference number.

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The partial citations for each regimen are noted in the References section, facilitating further investigation if desired.

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The app also includes a search function to quickly locate a particular agent or cancer type.

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Finally, the app contains the ability to be updated by the authors.

Pricing:

  • The Pocket Guide to Hematologic Cancer Chemotherapy Protocols by Edward Chu, MD runs for $24.99 at the app store.
  • By comparison, the paperback version sells for $27 at Barnes & Noble.

Likes:

  • Terrific user interface with superb organization and navigation
  • Regimens selected based on published literature, backed by Dr. Chu with publications referenced in the ap- Plans for frequent updates to information in the app

Dislikes:

  • Limited to hematologic malignancies in this version
  • Limited information about each chemotherapeutic regimen

Conclusion:

  • We recommend the Pocket Guide to Hematologic Cancer Chemotherapy Protocols App for oncology physicians, nurses, and trainees who rely on the paperback version, as it is more convenient, cheaper, and capable of being updated.