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Br J Cancer. 1997;76(1):107-13.

Patients in phase I trials of anti-cancer agents in Japan: motivation, comprehension and expectations.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, National Cancer Center Hospital East, Kashiwa, Chiba, Japan.


We attempted to characterize the motivation, comprehension and expectations of patients who had given informed consent to participate in phase I trials of anti-cancer agents at the National Cancer Center of Japan. Thirty-three patients were given a simple multiple-choice questionnaire and asked to return it at a later date. The completed survey was returned by 32 patients. The patients were surveyed before they had received any investigational phase I agents. Nineteen per cent of patients were motivated to participate in the phase I trials by the possibility of therapeutic benefit, 9% because participation seemed a better choice than no treatment and only 6% for altruistic reasons. Most patients comprehended the major features of a phase I trial, namely its investigational nature, the unknown effects of the agent investigated and the unclear benefit to the patients themselves. Fifty-nine per cent of the patients anticipated that they might suffer severe or life-threatening side-effects if they participated in the phase I trial, and 43% were able to indicate accurately the purpose of the phase I trial as a dose determination study. Although only a minority of the patients indicated that their motivation to participate was possible treatment benefit to themselves, when answering questions regarding expectations, more than half indicated that there might be personal benefits of varying degrees by participation.

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