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September 1978

Scientific Reporting Questioned

Author Affiliations


Arch Surg. 1978;113(9):1111. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1978.01370210093020

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To the Editor.—I have read the March issue of the Archives and was particularly concerned about an article on p 282 titled "Mastectomy as an Adjunct to Combination Chemotherapy" by Morris, et al. I believe that this kind of article, which in essence anecdotally relates the experience with three patients treated with any type of treatment followed for 21 months, is improperly published in a journal of your caliber. I believe that the broad-sweeping statements that the authors made, based on a small number of patients followed for an inadequate period of time, are inconsistent with good scientific reporting and with your responsibility to the medical public that reads this journal.

In addition, I would like to comment on the editorial response by Dr DeCosse, in which he stated "several studies of adjuvant radiation therapy for breast cancer have demonstrated a small but consistent increase in disseminated cancer in

Levitt SH, McHugh RB:  Radiotherapy in the postoperative treatment of operable cancer of the breast: Part I. Critique of the clinical and biometric aspects of the trials . Cancer 39:924-932, 1977.Article
Levitt SH, McHugh RB, Song CW:  Radiotherapy in the postoperative treatment of operable cancer of the breast: Part II. A re-examination of Stjernswärd's application of the Mantel-Haenszel statistical method: Evaluation of the effect of the radiation on immune response and suggestions for postoperative radiotherapy . Cancer 39:933-940, 1977.Article