Life, much like a football season, is full of winners and losers. Winners are always remembered, with losers relegated to the pages of history books. However, the definition of a winner or loser may not be easily applied to chemotherapy. The Macquarie Dictionary defines a winner as something successful or highly rated. A loser is something that is marked by inconsistently or thoroughly bad quality or performance, a failure. These definitions generally apply to people. Chemotherapy may actually be both a winner and/or a loser, depending on what criteria you apply to your definition. What makes chemotherapy a winner or loser? Is it simply supporting evidence enough to make it a winner? Does the evidence need to come from one or more large randomised phase III double blinded trials? Can chemotherapy be a winner if it does not have regulatory registration in Australia? Does chemotherapy require government subsidisation on the PBS to be a winner? Is making a significant profit for shareholders enough to make chemotherapy a winner?
This discussion will focus on the various winners and losers of chemotherapy agents and formulations over the years.