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J Natl Cancer Inst. 2010 May 19;102(10):702-5. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djq117. Epub 2010 Apr 21.

Adequacy of published oncology randomized controlled trials to provide therapeutic details needed for clinical application.

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Division of Hematology Oncology, Department of Medicine, Health Science Center, University of Florida, PO Box 100278, Gainesville, FL 32610-0278, USA.



Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) improve clinical care through evidence-based results. Guidelines exist for RCT result reporting, but specific details of therapeutic administration promote clinical application and reproduction of the trial design. We assess the reporting methodology in RCTs published in major oncology journals.


Ten essential elements of RCT reporting were identified and included drug name, dose, route, cycle length, maximum number of cycles, premedication, growth factor support, patient monitoring parameters, and dosing adjustments for hematologic and organ-specific toxicity. All therapy-based oncology RCTs published between 2005 and 2008 in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO), Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI), Blood, and Cancer were analyzed for inclusion of these 10 elements.


Of 339 identified articles, 262 were included in the final analysis (165 from JCO, 31 from NEJM, 27 from Cancer, 20 from JNCI, and 19 from Blood). Premedication, growth factor support, and dose adjustments for toxicities were each reported less than half of the time. Only 30 articles (11%) met the main objective of complete data reporting (ie, all 10 essential elements) and was highest in JNCI (5/20; 25%), followed by Cancer (5/27; 18%), JCO (18/165; 11%), Blood (1/19; 5%), and NEJM (1/31; 3%). The presence of an online appendix did not substantially improve complete reporting.


RCTs published in major oncology journals do not consistently report essential therapeutic details necessary for translation of the trial findings to clinical practice. Potential solutions to improve reporting include modification of submission guidelines, use of online appendices, and providing open access to trial protocols.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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