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Cancer treatments in phase 3 trials successful up to half of the time
Date:3/24/2008

s way, new treatments are, on average, found to be slightly superior to standard treatments, with a 5 percent relative reduction in the death rate. This, of course, should not be understood as the average effects of new discoveries being equally spread among all patients. In 15 percent of the trials, breakthrough therapies were discovered; in 2 percent of the cases, these reduced the death rate by more than 50 percent.

In conclusion, society has received a good return on its investment in the cooperative oncology group system, which funds the trials, the authors write. The public can expect that about 25 percent to 50 percent of new cancer treatments that reach the stage of assessment in randomized clinical trials will prove to be successful. This pattern of successes has become more consistent over time. However, our results also indicate that the absolute number of discoveries might be improved if the proportion of inconclusive trials is reduced.


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