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Giving Cancer Drugs in the PM Makes Them 2x as Effective

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By Kate Devlin, Medical Correspondent

Last Updated: 4:23PM BST 27 Aug 2008

Giving cancer patients chemotherapy drugs in the afternoon can make them twice as effective at shrinking tumours, new research suggests.

Scientists found that giving the drugs at between 1 and 4pm also reduced side effects by up to five times.

The team behind the study believe that the effect is due to changes in the natural rhythms of our bodies.

Scientists know that cells divide differently at different times of the day.

In cancer cells this normal division is accelerated but chemotherapy drugs target how the cells divide, slowing down the rate.

If the drugs can be given at the perfect time in the natural rhythm of the cell, doctors believe that they can be more effective.

In the study, scientists at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research in Paris gave different chemotherapy drugs at different times to 114 patients with bowel cancer and another 45 with lung cancer.

They found that the most effective time for giving the drugs was in the afternoon, between 1 and 4pm.

The drugs were twice as effective at shrinking tumours compared to the least effective times and their side effects up to five times less.

Francis Lévi, who led the study, reported in New Scientist magazine, said that it proved that the "interaction of the drug with its target will depend on the time when the cell is exposed to it".

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so we are getting into Biorythmics for chemo?? Interesting !! MAkes sense though that afternoon is better than am.

Thanks Christine!!!!

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Hi Christine,

The article is very interesting.

It makes me feel good about Bill's treatments. They have always been in the afternoon between 1-4 PM. We would arrive in the morning, but it would take a lot of time for weighing in, bloodwork, and waiting outside the oncologist's office.

Makes me feel guilty that I would get antsy. According to the study, the time of day was twice as good. :o

As Randy noted, it does make sense.

Thank you,


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