Skip Navigation LinksStanding-Firm-on-Evidence-that-Disputed-a-Widely-Held-Belief

In the early 1990s, conventional medical wisdom held that that high dose chemotherapy, in conjunction with bone marrow transplant, extended the lifespan of women with metastatic breast cancer. 

Our systematic review of the evidence disputed this widely held belief. Our research showed that this therapy did shrink tumors initially, but the response did not last and the cancer progressed. In fact, there was evidence that the best available standard-dose chemotherapy regimens offered patients with metastatic breast cancer a longer response time and an increased overall survival time.

This was a highly unpopular stance to take at the time, but we believed in our findings and stood by them. Our recommendations to discontinue bone marrow transplants for this type of cancer were proven correct, and women were saved an unnecessary, painful, expensive, and potentially deadly procedure.

Today, hundreds of hospitals, health insurers, and Ministries of Health get evidence-based guidance and vital insight on the ever-changing healthcare landscape from our Health Technology Assessment Information Service. Every day they turn to us for answers to these questions: “Is a ‘new’ drug, device, or procedure actually new? Is it safe and effective? Is it better than what is currently used? And do you expect it to be used widely?” 

Setting new standards for patient-driven information 

"Most patient information is created from the top down. Scientific or medical reports are put into lay language and called ‘patient information’ without ever really asking patients and families what their questions are. We built our latest resource on bulimia nervosa from the bottom up," says Jeffrey C. Lerner, PhD, president and CEO, ECRI Institute.