Evidence-Based Medicine in Oncology: Commercial Versus Patient Benefit

PMID: 32717895
Journal: Biomedicines (volume: 8, issue: 8, Biomedicines 2020 Jul;8(8))
Published: 2020-07-23

Schirrmacher V, Sprenger T, Stuecker W, Van Gool SW


At times of personalized and individualized medicine the concept of randomized- controlled clinical trials (RCTs) is being questioned. This review article explains principles of evidence-based medicine in oncology and shows an example of how evidence can be generated independently from RCTs. Personalized medicine involves molecular analysis of tumor properties and targeted therapy with small molecule inhibitors. Individualized medicine involves the whole patient (tumor and host) in the context of immunotherapy. The example is called Individualized Multimodal Immunotherapy (IMI). It is based on the individuality of immunological tumor-host interactions and on the concept of immunogenic tumor cell death (ICD) induced by an oncolytic virus. The evidence is generated by systematic data collection and analysis. The outcome is then shared with the scientific and medical community. The priority of big pharma studies is commercial benefit. Methods used to achieve this are described and have damaged the image of RCT studies in general. A critical discussion is recommended between all partners of the medical health system with regard to the conduct of RCTs by big pharma companies. Several clinics and institutions in Europe try to become more independent from pharma industry and to develop their own modern cancer therapeutics. Medical associations should include references to such studies from personalized and individualized medicine in their guidelines.