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Medical Journal Gives Information, not Hype

October 28, 2003

Re "Science by Headline" (Commentary, Oct. 23), on the New England Journal of Medicine's role in publishing newsworthy research on the breast-cancer drug letrozole: The decision to stop the letrozole drug trial and announce the results was made by the U.S. and Canadian National Cancer Institutes, not the Journal. There was an obligation for the investigators to stop the trial and inform the patients as specified in the original guidelines under which the patients were enrolled. The study was posted on our Web site at the time of this announcement to allow both the lay public and health professionals to view the entire data set so they could draw their own conclusions. Alongside the trial results, we published expert opinion that highlighted both the advances and the limitations of the study.

The Journal's mission is to present the best information from medical research in a clear and clinically useful format for physicians and patients. We do not attempt to hype the research findings in our pages for the purposes of gaining publicity.

Jeffrey M. Drazen MD

Editor, New England Journal

of Medicine, Boston

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