Many Cancer Trials Go Unpublished: Study
Negative outcomes often shelved because they don't boost careers
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 27, 2008 4:45 PM CDT
Many science journals refuse to publish negative results. "There are some journals which say, 'If you have negative results, we don't want to publish them,'" said one researcher. "It's dysfunctional."   (Index Stock)
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(Newser) – Fewer than 20% of cancer trial results are published in peer-review journals, a new study says. And industry-sponsored trials only achieve publication one time in 20. The reason? Scientists seeking success and media-hungry journals don't want to publish negative results, analysts say—even if they would aid other cancer studies.

"I knew that there was underpublication," but not at such high rates, study author Dr. Scott Ramsey told BusinessWeek. "We were really shocked by that." Studies that negated a drug's effects may have gone unpublished, he said, while positive ones were. Then "not only are we wasting lots of money, but we'd be giving patients false hopes about the value of the products."