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Eur J Cancer. 2007 Jul;43(10):1574-80. Epub 2007 Jun 1.

Information about cancer clinical trials: an analysis of Internet resources.

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Department of Clinical Haematology and Medical Oncology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.



Clinical trials are critical to improving patient outcomes, but participation in cancer clinical trials is low. Patient understanding of clinical trial process is also limited. Patients are increasingly using the Internet as a source of information. It is critical that such Internet-based information is relevant, current, balanced, and easy to access and navigate. We critically reviewed seven international online resources that provide information for patients/consumers regarding cancer clinical trials.


Seven international websites from North America, Europe and Australia were selected based on profile/usage. Sites were evaluated with respect to their content, readability and appropriateness using a suite of standard assessment tools.


No sites performed well in terms of all assessment criteria. There was substantial variation between sites regarding information provided, content, design and readability. All sites required high literacy levels and assessment using the Standard Assessment of Means tool showed consistent deficiencies.


Although there are numerous websites providing information about cancer clinical trials to patients/consumers, all evaluated sites have several shortcomings. Attention to the content of information, its presentation and the design of Internet resources has an ethical imperative, and is likely to lead to improved patient satisfaction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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