This story is a basic restatement of information from a company spokesperson about the results of a study that have not even been presented, yet alone peer reviewed. The story didn’t comment at all on the observed tradeoff of 2.4 months in improved median survival versus a 3% higher risk of death from side effects. And, by the way, the headline is inaccurate. It wasn’t "28 percent survival" but a "28 percent survival advantage" – which still isn’t optimum because such a relative benefit number isn’t nearly as helpful as hearing the absolute numbers.
This story never defined the patient population being studied. Prostate cancer is common in men, especially as they get older. However, not all prostate cancer requires treatment to decrease the chance of a man dying of prostate cancer. This story was irresponsible in not mentioning that this was a study of men with advanced prostate cancer – meaning that they already had prostate cancer that had spread beyond the prostate to be eligible to participate in the study.
The story included no discussion of costs. If a drug is this far down the pipeline in the EU and the US, somebody has some cost projections.
The story included the mean overall improvement in survival. But it didn’t comment at all on the tradeoff of 2.4 months in improved median survival versus a 3% higher risk of death from side effects. A barely satisfactory grade on this.
The story mentioned that:
The story is based on results that have not yet been presented as mentioned by a company spokesperson. The story made no comment on the limitations of what you can conclude from information given by a company that has not been presented, published or peer reviewed.
The story engaged in disease mongering of a sort in that it failed to mention that this drug is being investigated for advanced prostate cancer, meaning metastatic disease, not for early-stage prostate cancer. Not all prostate cancers are equal and certainly not all become advanced or deadly.
No independent sources were quoted to evaluate the claims made by the drug company.
There was no comparison with other approaches other than the single other treatment in the study. This is an inadequate representation of the options for men managing advanced prostate cancer.
The story indicated that the drug reported on was not yet approved for use in the EU; it also mentioned that drug is currently scheduled for an expedited review by the US FDA.
Not applicable because no claims of novelty were made. Conversely, readers didn’t learn anything about what’s different and important about this drug in the way it works – if anything.
Although we could not find a company press release, all of the info comes from a company spokesperson about results of a study yet to be presented. Is that any different than relying solely or largely on a news release?