What we know of breast cancer drugs may be spin & bias

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A senior scientist at a Toronto Cancer Centre who examined 164 drug trials for breast cancer treatment over a 16 year period says as many as two-thirds showed a bias in the way they reported adverse or negative effects and in how they tried to make the study look more positive than it was. We hear from Dr. Ian Tannock and from other doctors immersed in the oversight and publication of clinical trials.



What we know of breast cancer drugs may be spin & bias - Dr. Ian Tannock

They are praiseworthy journals in the world of medicine and research: The Lancet, The New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of Clinical Oncology. But a new study from researchers at the University of Toronto's Princess Margaret Cancer Centre suggests not everything they publish is deserving of praise.

The Canadian study reviewed 164 trials for breast cancer treatment -- and found that researchers frequently "spin" their results to paint them in a more positive light, while underplaying the negative side effects of the drugs they research.

Dr. Ian Tannock is a medical oncologist and senior scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto. He led the study, which was just published in the Annals of Oncology.

What we know of breast cancer drugs may be spin & bias - Panel

Well, to respond to some of the concerns raised by Dr. Tannock's research, we were joined by Dr. John Fletcher. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Medical Association Journal. He was in our Ottawa Studio. And Dr. An Wen Chan is a scientist at Women's College Hospital and Research Institute in Toronto and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto.

This segment was produced by The Current's Dawna Dingwall.


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