Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Getting real about NCI-designated Cancer Center advertising

The 69 National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Centers are premier academic institutions that place significant value on research integrity and an ethic that rigorous evidence should guide patient care and define expectations. Recent patient-focused advertising has strayed from these values, obscuring valid reasons for seeking care at these centres.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Prices vary by article type



Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. Vater, L. B., Donohue, J. M., Park, S. Y. & Schenker, Y. Trends in cancer-center spending on advertising in the United States, 2005 to 2014. JAMA Intern. Med. 176, 1214–1216 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Bower, H. et al. Life expectancy of patients with chronic myeloid leukemia approaches the life expectancy of the general population. J. Clin. Oncol. 34, 2851–2857 (2016).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Reck, M. et al. Pembrolizumab versus chemotherapy for PD-L1-positive non-small-cell lung cancer. N. Eng. J. Med. 375, 1823–1833 (2016).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Fojo, T., Mailankody, S. & Lo, A. Unintended consequences of expensive cancer therapeutics — the pursuit of marginal indications and a me-too mentality that stifles innovation and creativity. The John Conley Lecture. JAMA Otolarynogol. Head Neck Surg. 140, 1225–1236 (2014).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Niraula, S. et al. Risk of incremental toxicities and associated costs of new anticancer drugs: a meta-analysis. J. Clin. Oncol. 32, 3634–3642 (2014).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Garrido-Laguna, I. & Hidalgo, M. Pancreatic cancer: from state-of-the-art treatments to promising novel therapies. Nat. Rev. Clin. Oncol. 12, 319–334 (2015).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Larson, R. J., Schwartz, L. M., Woloshin, S. & Welch, H. G. Advertising by academic medical centers. Arch. Intern. Med. 165, 645–651 (2005).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development of the American Hospital Association. SHSMD advisory: principles and practices for marketing communications in hospitals and health systems. WHA (2010).

  9. Prasad, V. & Vandross, A. Characteristics of exceptional or super responders to cancer drugs. Mayo Clin. Proc. 90, 1639–1649 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Gooiker, G. A. et al. Systematic review and meta-analysis of the volume-outcome relationship in pancreatic surgery. Br. J. Surg. 98, 485–494 (2011).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Schwartz, L. A. & Woloshin, S. Cancer center advertising — where hope meets hype. JAMA Intern. Med. 176, 1068–1070 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to David Rubenson.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Rubenson, D., Kapp, D. Getting real about NCI-designated Cancer Center advertising. Nat Rev Clin Oncol 14, 195–196 (2017).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing: Translational Research

Sign up for the Nature Briefing: Translational Research newsletter — top stories in biotechnology, drug discovery and pharma.

Get what matters in translational research, free to your inbox weekly. Sign up for Nature Briefing: Translational Research