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"Drug delays cancer return after pancreas surgery"


Source: CBC.CA

Published: 17 Jan 2022

Category: Pharmaceutical

Rating: (4½ stars)

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

Offering a glint of hope for treating a notorious killer, researchers have found that a common chemotherapy drug can help pancreatic cancer patients who have undergone surgery stave off a return of the disease longer.
In the German study, the group receiving Gemzar, or gemcitabine, lived an average of 13.4 months without their cancer coming back. A comparison group that did not receive the drug lived without the disease for 6.9 months.
The 6½-month gain may look modest - and scientists say they have seen no difference so far in the overall survival rates between the two groups - but pancreatic cancer is such a rapid and efficient killer that the findings were still highly encouraging....

The original article can be found at:

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 9 of 11
Availability of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Evidence Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

This is a thorough and well-written story about a new use for an established chemotherapy drug, gemcitabine (trade name: Gemzar) to treat pancreatic cancer. The author explains the study and its results well, including quantification of benefits. Harms are mentioned, though not quantified. Canadians reading this article would want to know if it is available and or covered by the provincial health agencies. It included a nice description of the function of the pancreas and the severity/ natural history of pancreatic cancer. There was a paragraph at the end of the article about funding sources and possible conflicts of interest, which rounds out the story. Well done.

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