International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 855–862 | Cite as

The need for community pharmacists in oncology outpatient care: a systematic review

  • Johannes Thoma
  • Romána ZelkóEmail author
  • Balázs Hankó
Research Article


Background One-third of all deaths in Europe each year are attributable to cancer. Issues relating to cancer care, therefore, will continue to expand. To manage the increased challenges—including doctor shortages, an ageing population, and rural distribution of supplies—community pharmacists will likely be required to assume responsibility within oncology care. Aim of the review To assess the need for further investigation into quantity and utility of community pharmacists’ interventions in assisting oncology outpatients. Methods Initial search terms for identifying relevant literature within the PubMed database were informed by four key questions. Study selection for the systematic review was performed based on inclusion and exclusion criteria, which were defined a priori using the PICO tool. Literature searches identified 2470 papers, for which titles and abstracts were reviewed. Of these, 220 papers were retained for detailed analysis. The full texts of these manuscripts were then screened by applying the inclusion criteria. The remaining 68 papers were included in the systematic review. Results Several models of pharmacists’ interventions in inpatient, medium, and outpatient care have proven to be successful, have been consistently efficacious, and have positively influenced patient outcomes. Importantly, the quantity of scientific research, and thus of reported beneficial outcomes, in outpatient care is much lower than that conducted for inpatient and medium care. Conclusion Based on our findings, we suggest that further investigation of community pharmacists’ interventions into oncology outpatient assistance is necessary, and that further research should be conducted to address this need.


Cancer Community pharmacist Intervention Oncology Pharmaceutical Care Review 



We would like to express our thanks to Dr. Denes Kleiner for supporting the outcome search.


There were no sources of funding or other support for this systematic review.

Conflicts of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest—financial or otherwise—to report.

Supplementary material

11096_2016_297_MOESM1_ESM.doc (44 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 6926 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johannes Thoma
    • 1
  • Romána Zelkó
    • 1
    Email author
  • Balázs Hankó
    • 1
  1. 1.University Pharmacy Department of Pharmacy AdministrationSemmelweis UniversityBudapestHungary

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