Cancer patients in clinical trials for oncology medications are not like cancer patients in the general population and that means that the efficacy and safety readings for those drugs aren’t accurate, according to a viewpoint in JAMA Oncology. Cancer patients in clinical trials tend to be younger, healthier, whiter, and better educated than cancer patients in the general population, argue authors Sham Mailankody, MB, and Vinay Prasad, MD. They also tend to be very motivated and have the benefit of a strong support system. In addition, the clinical trials are often conducted at teaching hospitals, which many experts say provide better medical care than non-academic hospitals. For the most part, the clinical trial results overpromise.
The authors state that, “Survival in trials that enroll nonrepresentative populations are designed to demonstrate efficacy—in other words, to render findings about a drug’s ideal benefit (such as response rate and progression free survival) among patients who can be rapidly recruited to trials.”
Source: JAMA Oncology