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Br J Cancer. 2009 Apr 7;100(7):1037-42. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6604982. Epub 2009 Mar 17.

Characteristics and outcomes of patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer who declined to participate in randomised clinical chemotherapy trials.

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Department of Medical Oncology, National Cancer Center Hospital, Tokyo, Japan.


There are inadequate data on the outcomes of patients who declined to participate in randomised clinical trials as compared with those of participants. We retrospectively reviewed the patient characteristics and treatment outcomes of both participants and non-participants in the two randomised trials for chemotherapy-naive advanced non-small-cell lung cancer. Trial 1 compared four platinum-based combination regimens. Trial 2 compared two sequences of carboplatin plus paclitaxel and gefitinib therapies. Nineteen of 119 (16%) and 153 (37%) patients declined to participate in Trials 1 and 2, respectively. Among the background patient characteristics, the only variable associated with trial participation or declining was the patients' attending physicians (P<0.001). Important differences were not observed in the clinical outcomes between participants and non-participants, for whom the response rates were 30.6 vs 34.2% and the median survival times were 489 vs 461 days, respectively. The hazard ratio for overall survival, adjusted for other confounding variables, was 0.965 (95% confidence interval: 0.73-1.28). In conclusion, there was no evidence to suggest any difference in the characteristics and clinical outcomes between participants and non-participants. Trial designs and the doctor-patient relationship may have an impact on the patient accrual to randomised trials.

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