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OS exact meaning?

Posts: 14
Joined: Nov 2017

During my reading on kidney cancer medical documents (for my dad condition) I have gained a good insight into the illness and its treatment but there is one thing that is not fully clear to me. I am sure you will know to explain it:

Whenever you read about a clinical trial, different achronyms appear like PFS, ORR and OS. It is OS that puzzles me. For example, lets consider that A compund yielded a OS os 25 months. Then a second line B therapy yields 22 months. Does this mean that an imaginary patient responding to both A and B should expect an overall survival of 47 months? well, a little bit less because he wont wait to the end to start B treatment... lets say 40 months? Is this correct in real world clinic? I mean, does OS account for both people that don't make it and those who decide to change therapy?

Hope you are doing well, my dad recovered perfectly from his surgery. He is now doing well with just 2/3 of a kidney; no dyalisis, good overall health, travelling and enjoying life :-). I am enjoying the good but also always prepared for the worst and this is why I am reading and learning. As a scientific I am sure knowledge is power and, in this case, health. By the way, during surgery his right arm was put in a forced position which lead to a total numbness and paralysis. This is an extremely strange situation where the brachial plexus is damaged and you never know how it will evolve. But he is a very strong man and continuous effort, exercise, diet, meds and physiotherapy did the trick and he is again playing golf with an stronger-than-ever right arm :-).

He is showing me the meaning of corage and how life should be lived.

Never give up!


PS: Sorry for my poor English, writing from Spain!

JerzyGrrl's picture
Posts: 757
Joined: Jun 2016

Hi, kankamuso --

Glad to hear you're supporting your dad. Even better to hear he's back on the golf course!

The best way to find out what OS (= Overall Survival) means in a particular study is to read about how the study was conducted (generally rather boring technical stuff, but -- yeah). Sometimes, people aren't given the option to change treatments, sometimes they are. Sometimes they don't or can't continue partway through (so they may still be around, but aren't counted). Also, it may not automatically mean that they're only surviving the number of months listed; it may mean they're still around after that number of months. It's also important to find out if there were other reasons participants might have died before the end of the study that aren't related to cancer and/or the treatments (and what they did with those numbers).

Plus... The type and stage of their renal cell cancer is important as is the date of the study. Something from the '90s isn't going to be relevant today because there have been so many advances in treatment. You can easily drive yourself more than just a little crazy trying to cover all the "what ifs" when in fact the information may be out-of-date or it may not even apply.

If you could provide the information of your father's RCC on your "About Me" page, that would be helpful.

All the best --

Posts: 14
Joined: Nov 2017

Thanks a lot!

I forgot to reply and left it for "later" and you know what happens.

I will update "About me" for a proper introduction

Thanks again

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