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Invited Commentary
May 28, 2019

An International Perspective on Drugs for Cancer: The Best of Times, the Worst of Times

Author Affiliations
  • 1Institute of Applied Health Research, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, Murray Learning Centre, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom
  • 2Department of General Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
  • 3Department of Chronic Disease Epidemiology, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, Connecticut
  • 4Cancer Outcomes Public Policy and Effectiveness Research (COPPER) Center, New Haven, Connecticut
JAMA Intern Med. 2019;179(7):913-914. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.0458

This is a time of unprecedented hope in the development of treatments for cancer. For many patients, it can also be a time of despair and economic hardship. New drugs and treatment regimens proliferate faster than most physicians can keep pace with. Communicating choices among the options in disseminated cancer—fraught with difficulty at the best of times—can become almost impossible in a context of month-by-month change in complex treatment strategies and new subgroup classifications. And faced with the urgency of the task, the traditional methodology of randomized clinical trials may seem too slow and cumbersome.

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