From the non-news that’s news’ department, Reuters reproted on a study that showed that ~15% of patients who took Sutent, a kidney and cancer drug, developed heart failure. Dr Melinda Telli presented information on 48 patients who took Sutent at an American Society of Clinical Oncology. You’d think this was new information the way it’s being reported (WaPost, CNNMoney, ETC). Of course, if anyone had been reading the label of the drug, they’d find this under ‘Precautions’:
In the two MRCC studies, twenty-five patients (15%) had decreases in left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) to below the lower limit of normal (LLN). In GIST Study A, 22 patients (11%) on SUTENT and 3 patients (3%) on placebo had treatment-emergent LVEF values below the LLN.
and in bold
Physicians are advised to weigh this risk against the potential benefits of the drug. These patients should be carefully monitored for clinical signs and symptoms of CHF while receiving SUTENT.
First question: Why do this study? Did the researcher never read the label which referred to a much bigger study with the same finding?
Second question: Why is anyone reporting on this non-news? “Drug. heart-failure. must print.” Thankfully, not everyone is (Kudos to NYTimes, USAToday, LATimes, ChicagoTrib).