Cancer patients may be overly optimistic about early drug trial participation

People with cancer may overestimate the possible benefits to them of participating in an early trial of a new medicine, even after talking with a doctor about what to expect, according to a new study from the U.K.

So-called phase 1 trials of experimental treatments are intended to test the drug’s safety. Just 4 percent to 20 percent of participants may see their cancer respond to the drug, the authors write in the journal Cancer.

But among cancer patients surveyed while they were considering taking part in an early drug trial, between 40 percent and 50 percent of patients thought their tumors would shrink. That was true both before and after talking with doctors, researchers found.

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