Health-related quality of life overlooked in cancer drug studies
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IMAGE: Feng Xie, senior author and a professor of the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact at McMaster. view more 

Credit: McMaster University

Hamilton, ON (October 1, 2018) – A McMaster University-led review and analysis of randomized clinical trials is questioning whether interventions which prolong progression-free survival in cancer patients, improve their health-related quality of life.

The systematic review and quantitative analysis of 52 articles reporting on 38 randomized clinical trials involving 13,979 cancer patients across 12 cancer types revealed no significant association between survival when the disease is not getting worse, or “progression-free survival”, and health-related quality of life.

The results were published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine.

“Given the increased use of progression-free survival as the primary outcome in new oncology drug trials, and uncertainty of overall survival, it remains possible that patients are receiving toxic and/or expensive treatments without experiencing important benefit,” said Feng Xie, senior author of the study and a professor of the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact at McMaster.

The research team conducted the review of human cancer randomized clinical trials published from January 2000 to May 2016, screening 35,960 records.

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