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Comment & Response
November 2017

Is “Do Everything!” Always Appropriate?

Author Affiliations
  • 1University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque
  • 2Retired
JAMA Oncol. 2017;3(11):1588. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2017.1647

To the Editor I read with interest the Viewpoint by Beer and Prasad.1 I agree with the points they raised regarding the book by DeVita and DeVita-Raeburn, The Death of Cancer.2 Their book is a good historical perspective of the development of modern multidrug chemotherapy and has a fascinating account of DeVita’s team’s success in achieving high rates of complete remissions and even cures in advanced Hodgkin disease and other hematological malignant neoplasms. However, that approach has had limited success in the treatment of most other cancers. The attitude of “never give up” causes more harm than good. Unregulated, unsupervised clinical trials have caused severe harm to many patients, as illustrated by the Jesse Gelsinger case.3

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