New cancer drugs prolong life expectancy by almost 3.5 months, study finds

While the emergence of new cancer medications increased survival rates in the last decade, therapeutic benefits vary greatly by drug,,according to a new study published in JAMA Oncology.

From 2003 and 2013, the Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency approved 62 new cancer drugs. Of these, 53 were appraised through English, French or Australian health technology assessment agencies. Researchers analyzed these assessment reports to evaluate the overall survival, quality of life and safety benefits of recently licensed cancer medicines.

Here are four study findings to know.

  1. Of the 53 drugs evaluated, 23 (43 percent) increased overall survival by three months or longer, six (11 percent) improved overall survival by less than three months and 16 (30 percent) were not associated with increased overall survival rate.
  1. Researchers found the new cancer drugs improved overall survival by an average of 3.4 months.
  1. Twenty-two of the drugs (42 percent) were associated with increased quality of life, while 24 (45 percent) were also linked to reduced patient safety.
  1. Forty-two drugs (79 percent) showed at least some improvement in overall safety, quality of life or safety.

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