Progression-free survival (PFS) is a type of survival rate that measures the length of time during and after medication or treatment during which the disease being treated does not get worse. It is sometimes used as a metric to study the health of a person with a disease to try to determine how well a new treatment is working.
It is often used as a clinical endpoint in randomized controlled trials for cancer therapies.
It is a metric frequently used by the UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to evaluate the effectiveness of a cancer treatment. PFS has been postulated to be a better (“more pure”) measure of efficacy in second-line clinical trials as it eliminates potential differential bias from prior or subsequent treatments.
However, PFS improvements do not always result in corresponding improvements in overall survival, and the control of the disease may come at the biological expense of side effects from the treatment itself.