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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 865101, 9 pages
Review Article

Which Metrics Are Appropriate to Describe the Value of New Cancer Therapies?

1Cancer Research UK Centre, University of Southampton, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK
2Department for Health Economics, University of Bielefeld, 33501 Bielefeld, Germany
3PAREXEL International, 160 Euston Road, London NW1 2DX, UK
4Bristol-Myers Squibb, Route 206 and Province Line Road, Princeton, NJ 08543, USA

Received 7 July 2014; Accepted 31 October 2014

Academic Editor: Swaleha Zubair

Copyright © 2015 Peter Johnson et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Patients with certain cancers are treated with curative intent, but for others the results are less favorable and different therapeutic approaches are needed. Early data suggest that new therapies, which modulate immune responses to cancers, may have potential for long-term survival in a proportion of cases. Therefore, it is timely to consider whether metrics generally used to describe the medical value of therapies for patients with common solid tumors remain appropriate for therapies with curative potential. Literature reviews were conducted to define how various stakeholders describe cure in oncology and to identify the endpoints used in clinical trials for selected solid tumors. The results showed that “cure” is described using various terms that can be divided broadly into lack of disease progression, eradication of cancerous cells, and survival. The review of trial endpoints showed frequent use of median overall survival (OS) and progression- and response-related endpoints. Because these endpoints were mainly described in the context of chemotherapies that are not generally curative, they may not adequately capture outcomes of new therapeutic modalities with potential for long-term survival. More appropriate endpoints may include mean OS, cure fraction, and OS rate at landmark time points.