publication date: Jun. 2, 2017

Conversation with The Cancer Letter

Cary Gross: We need to learn to analyze real-world evidence rigorously

Cary Gross

Professor of medicine and of epidemiology, Yale School of Medicine



Cary Gross, professor of medicine and of epidemiology at Yale School of Medicine, has been working with a dataset of 35,000 non-small cell lung cancer patients, looking for signs of disparities in access to PD-1 checkpoint inhibitors.

Working with data gathered by Flatiron Health, Gross has also been pondering the role real-world evidence can legitimately play in the development and approval of cancer drugs.

The Flatiron dataset tracks the rapid uptake of immunotherapy agents over two years—illustrating, in real-time, more than a sevenfold increase from May 2015 through April 2017.

“Now that we know standard of cancer care can change so rapidly, the pressure is really on clinical community and policymakers to ensure that we are rapidly and rigorously assessing the impact of these new agents outside the trial setting,” Gross said to The Cancer Letter. He will be presenting the initial results of the study at the 2017 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago.

“My concern is that if we’re not using state-of-the-art techniques to analyze it—and if we’re not making the data available to the scientific community at large so they can reanalyze it using different techniques, we’re going to be drawing improper or inappropriate conclusions.

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