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November 2016

The “Next Big Thing” in Treatment for Relapsed or Refractory Multiple Myeloma May Be Held Back by Design—Between the Lines

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England
  • 2Leeds University & Leeds Teaching Hospital, St James Hospital, Leeds, England
JAMA Oncol. 2016;2(11):1405-1406. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2016.1782

Contemporary treatments for relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma (rrMM) are being hailed as “breakthrough,” “the next big thing,” and “new hope.”1 In fact, at least 60 papers from a recent systematic review2 included such language in titles or abstracts, as well as “hope,” “promise,” “life-saving,” “revolutionized,” and “enthusiasm,” among others. However, while there are a small number of therapies that are considered breakthrough by the US Food and Drug Administration, hurdles still exist to endorse the notion that a full revolution may have occurred.3 The following statement argues that a potential–or very likely–reason may be found in the methodological approaches to the studies, both in terms of design and in the analysis of data generated.

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