Reevaluating the accelerated approval process for oncology drugs

Clin Cancer Res. 2013 Jun 1;19(11):2804-9. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-13-0315. Epub 2013 Apr 3.


For a new therapy to qualify for the accelerated approval pathway, it must treat a serious disease for which there is "unmet medical need"--defined as providing a therapy where none exists or providing a therapy that may be potentially superior to existing therapy. The increasing number of available therapies, coupled with the lack of accepted endpoints considered "reasonably likely to predict clinical benefit" and the lack of clarity early in development about circumstances in which a new product will qualify for accelerated approval, is pushing developers to pursue accelerated approval in heavily pretreated patients to fulfill an unmet need. To optimize the accelerated approval pathway, we propose here a reevaluation of what constitutes "unmet medical need" and "available therapy" in oncology. We also discuss ways for new endpoints to become qualified for use in supporting accelerated approval, and propose a structured process for pursuing accelerated approval.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents*
  • Drug Approval*
  • Humans
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration


  • Antineoplastic Agents