We review how overall survival (OS) comparisons should be interpreted with increasing availability of effective therapies that can be given subsequently to the treatment assigned in a randomized clinical trial (RCT). We examine in detail how effective subsequent therapies influence OS comparisons under varying conditions in RCTs. A subsequent therapy given after tumor progression (or relapse) in an RCT that works better in the standard arm than the experimental arm will lead to a smaller OS difference (possibly no difference) than one would see if the subsequent therapy was not available. Subsequent treatments that are equally effective in the treatment arms would not be expected to affect the absolute OS benefit of the experimental treatment but will make the relative improvement in OS smaller. In trials in which control arm patients cross over to the experimental treatment after their condition worsens, a smaller OS difference could be observed than one would see without cross-overs. In particular, use of cross-over designs in the first definitive evaluation of a new agent in a given disease compromises the ability to assess clinical benefit. In disease settings in which there is not an intermediate end point that directly measures clinical benefit, OS should be the primary end point of an RCT. The observed difference in OS should be considered the measure of clinical benefit to the patients, regardless of subsequent therapies, provided that the subsequent therapies used in both treatment arms follow the current standard of care.