The story provides the reader with a confused and often contradictory profile of interim findings of a study reported in abstract at a big scientific conference.
The American Society of Clinical Oncology conference fosters a lot of rush-to-publication among journalists. This story was an example of what an empty exercise that can sometimes be.
No discussion of projected costs – not even a statement that the company has not yet projected costs. We look for cost information in every single story.
The story presents the reader with a set of apparently contradictory information on the benefits of the drug.
How many patients were in the study: 108 or 31? What were the results and when were they recorded? While all of the statistics are indeed correct, they are not provided in a way that a reader can get a true picture.
The story said “Side effects of cabozantinib included fatigue, high blood pressure and hemorrhage” but it never explained how often these were seen. In 1% of patients? 10% All of them?
The story states that it is reportinig on “interim results from a midstage trial” but it never says anything about the limitations of such a preliminary report. In doing so, it present a confused and sometimes contradictory set of information that provides the reader with little in the way of a take home message.
No disease mongering of late-stage prostate cancer.
No physician or researcher was interviewed – only the drug company CEO. Not good form in reporting on health news. With thousands of cancer specialists in Chicago for the ASCO conference, was none available?
No comparison with other treatment approaches.
The story says the drug is “experimental.” We wish it had provided more details than that. But we’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.
We’re not told much about the relative novelty of the drug – only that it’s being studied in ovarian and thyroid cancer as well.
We can’t be sure of the extent to which the story relied on a news release. We do know it quoted only the company CEO.