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In melanoma patients, immune therapy may boost survival


5 Star

In melanoma patients, immune therapy may boost survival

Our Review Summary

In just 310 words, this story covered key points of study results clearly, concisely and without hyperbole. It used terms like "may boost survival…may provide a new way…modest success" instead of overstating.


Why This Matters

It is a difficult balance reporting on promising study results for a terrible disease and doing so without sensationalism.  This story found that balance nicely.  It proves that in only 310 words, health news stories can do a reasonable job addressing our criteria on how new findings should be reported.


Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Applicable

Not applicable.  Costs not discussed but we understand that at this point in the research.  Nonetheless, we wish the story had used even one short line, as the Wall Street Journal did, to say the drugmaker said it was too soon to discuss pricing.

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


Good job on this, especially putting results in context in calm, measured terms:

  • "Doctors say that even modest success is reason for hope in this disease."

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


Good job quantifying the harms found in the study, the severity of those harms, and including one – death (in 1.5% of patients on the experimental approach) –  that many news stories didn’t report.

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

Not Satisfactory

The story didn’t discuss a key point raised in some other stories, such as one by that reported that the study "lacked a comparison to a placebo or true control, which makes the results harder to interpret."

Does the story commit disease-mongering?


No disease mongering in this story.

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


The study author was interviewed along with a clinician who has used the drug. Drug company funding of the study was disclosed.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?


Story explains that this is "the first drug to improve advanced melanoma patients’ survival in a large, definitive trial."

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


The story was clear about the experimental stage of the approach.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?


The novelty – that is "the first drug to improve advanced melanoma patients’ survival in a large, definitive trial" – was explained.

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


It’s clear the story didn’t rely on a news release.

Total Score: 8 of 9 Satisfactory


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