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Read Original Story

Impotence Drugs May Aid Brain Tumor Treatment


1 Star

Impotence Drugs May Aid Brain Tumor Treatment

Our Review Summary

How many people read a headline, "Impotence Drugs May Aid Brain Tumor Treatment" and immediately think it’s only in mice? We bet not many. But that’s what they got with this story.  How many people read a news story and expect there to be some original, independent reporting?  Probably a lot and they’d be disappointed in this story.


Why This Matters

It’s not a trivial matter when news stories jerk around people with brain tumors raising false hopes over mouse research.


Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

No discussion of the cost of sildenafil, vardenafil or herceptin in the treatment of these brain tumors.

Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Not Satisfactory

The story explained:

  • "Work with mice demonstrated that initial Levitra exposure effectively doubled the amount of Herceptin that was able to reach brain tumors linked to lung and breast cancer. What’s more, when administering Herceptin and Levitra together, survival among the mice increased by 20 percent compared to treatment with just Herceptin alone."

But it didn’t explain how many mice were tested.  And it didn’t give any absolute numbers of how long survival was increased.  Did "increased by 20 percent" mean 20 minutes?  2 days?  And no matter what the answer, how might that translate to people?  And large is that leap?  The story was frustratingly silent on these questions.

Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

No discussion of any even theoretical harms of using any of these drugs to treat brain tumors.

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?

Not Satisfactory

Unbelievably, there was not one word about the limitations in applying findings about the blood-brain barrier in mice to the same situation in people.  Also no discussion about how extensive was the research in mice – how many mice?

Does the story commit disease-mongering?


No overt disease-mongering.

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?

Not Satisfactory

No independent expert source was quoted.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Satisfactory

No discussion of any other research in treating these tumors so how this mouse research fits into the context of other research in this field is completely unaddressed.

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Not Applicable

Not applicable.  The availability of the drugs is not in question.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Not Satisfactory

No discussion of any other research in treating these tumors so the true novelty of the approach is unclear.

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?

Not Satisfactory

The story got its only quote from a news release. Presumably that’s where all the other information came from as well.

Total Score: 1 of 9 Satisfactory


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