publication date: Aug. 8, 2017

Conversation with The Cancer Letter

More than three million life-years added over 60 years as a result of SWOG clinical trials

 

Joseph Unger

Assistant member, Cancer Prevention Program, Public Health Sciences Division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center

 

A SWOG study estimates that implementation of findings from that group’s clinical trials has added 3.34 million years to the lives of cancer patients in the 60 years since its founding in 1956.

The primary question the researchers sought to answer was: “How have the NCI–sponsored network cooperative cancer research groups benefited patients with cancer in the general population?”

The study may be the first of its kind, said Joseph Unger, assistant member of the Cancer Prevention Program, Public Health Sciences Division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center. It has been commonly assumed that SWOG was making an impact, but that impact was difficult to explain or quantify, he said.

“It’s important for federal funding agencies to understand that their investment in the group is a good value,” Unger said to The Cancer Letter. “This study was an attempt to quantify that value.”

Unger and colleagues also estimated that the investment cost per life year on the part of the NCI was only $125.

“This was quite a remarkable statistic in terms of research investment cost,” he said. This estimate should not be confused with cost effectiveness, where a typical reasonable estimate is $50,000 or $100,000 per life year, since it was just an investment dollar cost estimate for NCI and did not include all the … Continue reading More than three million life-years added over 60 years as a result of SWOG clinical trials

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