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Comparative Effectiveness Studies Explore Cancer, Trauma Care

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, April 18, 2012

To highlight the importance of comparative effectiveness research, the Journal of the American Medical Association partnered with the $3.5 billion Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute on Tuesday to explain three studies in this week's themed issue and discuss the need for more research.

The studies' conclusions help "physicians, other clinicians, policymakers,  and patients make informed decisions" about the benefits and harms of the choices available to "prevent, diagnose, treat, or monitor a clinical condition," said Phil Fontanarosa, MD, the JAMA's executive editor. 

Avastin and Lung Cancer
One study, in this edition of the journal, for example, upset prevailing wisdom about the benefit of adding a costly drug, bevacizumab, sold under the brand name Avastin, to the standard two-drug cocktail (carboplatin and paclitaxel) for treating advanced non-small cell lung cancer in Medicare beneficiaries.

The drug was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and covered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services after a 2006 trial found that adding it to the regimen provided a statistically significant, albeit slight, survival advantage.

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