ABSTRACT: In health care facilities, dermal contact and inhalation are considered to be the main routes of exposure to cytotoxic antineoplastic drugs (ADs). Hand-to-mouth contamination or accidental needle sticks as well as events due to inadequate disposal may also contribute to exposure. In order to measure the extent of contamination, biological and environmental monitoring are essential tools for routine testing. Moreover, reliable sampling and analytical procedures are required. During the last decade, several methods have been developed and validated. The appropriate analytical techniques were used to quantify even very low levels of some of the more commonly used ADs, such as cyclophosphamide, 5-fluoruracil, taxol, anthracyclines, and platinum-compounds. The main objective of this study is to assess the adherence to existing standards of practice through an effective monitoring program, including environmental and biological measurements. In seven hospitals located in Northern-Central Italy, periodic surveys were scheduled to verify continuing compliance with guidelines over a 5-year period. All biological samples were found to be below detection limits and a progressive, significant decrease in workplace contamination was observed. Our results confirm that a cost-effective monitoring regime, including fast and simple sample pre-treatment procedures, simultaneous determination of the analytes and their metabolites, validated procedures including uncertainty evaluation, and periodic surveys, is the adequate approach for the collection of reliable exposure data and hence for effective intervention.
Journal of Oncology Pharmacy Practice 12/2011; 17(4):320-32.