Comment | Published:

Why patients receive treatments that are minimally effective?

Nature Reviews Clinical Oncologyvolume 16pages34 (2019) | Download Citation

The value of medical treatments is an issue that has been actively debated in recent years and is not unique to oncology. In this Comment, we discuss why we pursue treatments which might have limited benefit from the point of view of three parties: the patient, the physician, and the pharmaceutical industry.

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The authors gratefully acknowledge V. Chopra and I. Tannock for their helpful comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript.

Author information


  1. Department of Oncology, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

    • Christopher M. Booth
  2. Division of Cancer Care and Epidemiology, Queen’s Cancer Research Institute, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

    • Christopher M. Booth
  3. Institute for Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    • Allan S. Detsky
  4. Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    • Allan S. Detsky
  5. Department of Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital and University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    • Allan S. Detsky


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Competing interests

The authors have no competing interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Christopher M. Booth.

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