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Cancer field conundrum: Comparative effectiveness research

Wall Street Journal Health Blog, April 23, 2010

A Duke oncologist is warning that the emphasis on comparative effectiveness studies may present obstacles for the field of cancer research. At a recent American Association for Cancer Research meeting, Duke's Amy Abernethy outlined several stumbling blocks, starting with the notion that while oncology is increasingly moving towards personalized treatment, comparative effectiveness research is based on large populations. There's also a dearth of evidence to actually direct physicians to the most "medically effective and cost-effective treatment for individual patients," she said.