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Many New Cancer Treatments Superior to Old

New treatments evaluated in phase 3 trials often better than established treatments

TUESDAY, March 25 (HealthDay News) -- About 25 percent to 50 percent of new cancer treatments evaluated in phase 3 randomized clinical trials are shown to be better than established treatments, researchers report in the March 24 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Benjamin Djulbegovic, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of South Florida in Tampa, and colleagues evaluated the therapeutic success of 624 phase 3 randomized clinical trials involving 216,451 cancer patients since 1955.

The researchers found that 30 percent of trials had results that were statistically significant, of which 80 percent of trials showed that the new intervention was superior to established regimens. Based on a risk-benefit profile, the original researchers favored the new treatment in 41 percent of comparisons. New treatments were slightly favored, with hazard ratios of 0.95 for overall survival and 0.90 for event-free survival. The study notes that 15 percent of trials led to the discovery of breakthrough interventions.

"Approximately 25 percent to 50 percent of new cancer treatments that reach the stage of assessment in randomized clinical trials will prove successful," Djulbegovic and colleagues conclude. "The pattern of successes has become more stable over time."

Two authors report financial relationships with companies within the pharmaceutical industry.

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