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Progression Free Survival (PFS)

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Updated March 19, 2007

Definition:

Progression-free survival (PFS) denotes the chances of staying free of disease progression for a group of individuals suffering from a cancer after a particular treatment. It is the percentage of individuals in the group whose disease is likely to remain stable (and not show signs of progression) after a specified duration of time. Progression-free survival rates are an indication of how effective a particular treatment is.

Progression-free survival is often calculated for treatment of diseases that are slow growing and difficult to cure, like low grade lymphomas. This term is also used when salvage treatments are offered in situations where the intention is not cure but the control of disease.

Examples:

'The 1-year disease-free survival for stage IV Hodgkin lymphoma is 30% when treated with a new combination of drugs.'

This means that after this particular treatment is offered, about 30% of those treated with this new combination will have stable disease without progression at 1 year.

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