Researchers look for surrogate endpoints to predict early benefit of cancer drugs

March 27, 2016

"It is a good sign that a cancer is being contained in this way," says Lange, "but this is no guarantee that a treatment has a benefit." For example, in some women the drug Avastin- can contain breast cancer for a certain period of time. However, researchers now strongly doubt that this prolongs the life of the women. In view of the side effects that cancer therapies often have, patients could be spared therapies that have no benefit.

Impact on the early benefit assessment of cancer drugs

IQWiG assumes that for the early benefit assessment of new cancer drugs often only studies on surrogate endpoints will be available. "Consequently, conclusions on the benefit and harm of new drugs will be characterized by some degree of uncertainty" says Lange. "However, we now propose a way as to how this uncertainty can be detected and dealt with."

In order to apply the methods for assessing surrogate endpoints successfully, however, the Institute is dependent on the preparatory work of other researchers. Many long-completed studies on cancer therapies could easily be used to examine systematically the association between surrogate endpoints and the benefit for patients. "It would be ideal if companies and researchers rigorously analysed the surrogate endpoint data currently lying in their drawers and published the results," says Lange.

Source: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care