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Palliation is rarely a topic in studies on advanced cancer
Date:4/24/2014

only in 36, that is about a third, of the publications. In 31 cases results for PROs were reported in the primary publication. In the remaining five, these findings were presumably provided only in later publications, and thus generally in less prominent journals.

Weighing of benefit and harms not always comprehensible

In most publications authors addressed the benefit-harm ratio of the respective interventions. But the importance of side effects for patients was appropriately reflected and presented only in 22 out of 88 of these publications, and instead played down by certain formulations in 53. All authors drew a corresponding conclusion, but this was comprehensible on the basis of the study results reported beforehand for only 48 of the publications.

Terms are used differently

The report also aimed to clarify terms within the context of "curation" and "palliation". However, this was not possible as these were used inconsistently in the publications analysed and rarely defined.

For instance, the meaning of "salvage therapy" is unclear. "To salvage" means "to rescue", which could lead patients to assume that the treatment they are undergoing will "rescue", that is "cure" them. However, precisely this case is no longer realistic in the specific treatment situation.

Specific treatment situation not adequately represented

Stefan Lange, Deputy Head of IQWiG and one of the authors of the report, sums up: "Our investigation showed that the specific treatment situation of patients in whom the end of life is foreseeable is inadequately represented in publications.

And this deficit is serious, as physicians also refer to the results of clinical studies in their conversations with patients. Both can only conjointly make good decisions about treatment options if they receive complete and unbiased information on the expected benefit and harm.

This is particularly important
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Contact: Dr. Anna-Sabine Ernst
presse@iqwig.de
49-022-135-6850
Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care
Source:Eurekalert

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