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New Cancer Drug Approvals Linked to Drop in Mortality

New cancer drugs approved between 2000 and 2016 associated with 1,291,769 fewer related deaths in the U.S.

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MONDAY, Nov. 9, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- For the most common cancers, cancer drug approvals between 2000 and 2016 were associated with a reduction in deaths, according to a study published online Nov. 9 in the Journal of Medical Economics.

Joanna P. MacEwan, Ph.D., from PRECISIONheor in Los Angeles, and colleagues examined the extent to which the approvals of new pharmacological therapies were associated with cancer mortality in the United States from 2000 to 2016. Cancer drug approvals across the 15 tumor types with the highest incidence were quantified. The annual tumor-specific cancer mortality, defined as the number of deaths per 100,000 U.S. population, was the primary outcome.

The researchers observed a 24 percent decrease in deaths per 100,000 population across the 15 most common tumor types between 2000 and 2016. Across the 15 most common tumor types, 10.2 new indications were approved per year. For colorectal cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, leukemia, melanoma, gastric cancer, and renal cancer, cancer drug approvals were associated with significant reductions in deaths in 2016. Between 2000 and 2016, across the 15 most common tumor types, new cancer treatments were associated with 1,291,769 total deaths prevented.

"This study provides evidence that the gains in survival measured in clinical trials are translating into health benefits for patients in the real world and confirms previous research that has also shown that new pharmaceutical treatments are associated with improved survival outcomes for patients," MacEwan said in a statement.

Several authors are employees of Precision Health Economics & Outcome Research (PRECISIONheor), which provides services to the life sciences industry. Several authors disclosed financial ties to Pfizer, which funded the study.

Abstract/Full Text

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