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Head Neck. 2013 Oct;35(10):1515-20. doi: 10.1002/hed.23151. Epub 2012 Sep 18.

Influence of study sponsorship on head and neck cancer randomized trial results.

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  • 1Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan; VA Center for Clinical Management Research, VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, Ann Arbor, Michigan; Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.



The purpose of this study was to identify associations between study sponsorship and the methodological quality and published outcomes of head and neck cancer randomized controlled trials (RCTs).


We systematically searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials for qualified RCTs, evaluating journal impact factor (IF), Jadad score (measure of study quality), and results favoring or not favoring experimental therapy.


Of 118 RCTs, the most common sponsor was government (38; 32%), followed by nonprofit organizations (30; 25%) and industry (26; 22%). Industry-supported RCTs were associated with publication in journals with higher IF compared with RCTs without industry support (p = .013). Government-supported RCTs were associated with higher mean Jadad score (p = .026) and results favoring experimental therapy (p = .034).


Government-supported, but not industry-supported, RCTs were significantly associated with positive study results. These findings may be confounded by broadly applied definitions of sponsorship.

Copyright © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


bias; bibliometric analysis; conflict of interest; head and neck neoplasms; research sponsorship

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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