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Clinical trial participation alone may not be associated with improved outcomes for childhood cancer patients

Date:
March 1, 2010
Source:
JAMA and Archives Journals
Summary:
Children with the most common childhood cancer did not experience improved outcomes from participating in a clinical trial between 1997 and 2005. Researchers studied 322 patients with newly diagnosed acute lymphoblastic leukemia (a cancer involving the white blood cells), approximately half of whom participated in one of several available clinical trial protocols for the disease.

Children with the most common childhood cancer did not experience improved outcomes from participating in a clinical trial between 1997 and 2005.

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Carl Koschmann, M.D., and colleagues at the University of Washington and Seattle Children's Hospital studied 322 patients with newly diagnosed acute lymphoblastic leukemia (a cancer involving the white blood cells), approximately half of whom participated in one of several available clinical trial protocols for the disease.

Overall, 79 percent of the patients survived five years without recurrence of their leukemia, with no significant difference between study participants and non-participants (80 percent vs. 77 percent). "Clinical trial participation does not, by itself, lead to improved outcome for pediatric patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in the current era," the authors conclude. "Discussions about participation in a clinical trial should focus on improvement of future therapy, not the direct benefit of the research participant."

"Considerable evidence indicates that clinical trials are associated with substantial benefits as measured by both public health and economic gains," writes Steven Joffe, M.D., M.P.H., of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, in an accompanying editorial. "In the modern era, five-year survival rates for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia are 80 percent to 90 percent. It is likely that these remarkable outcomes owe much not only to the legacy of treatment insights derived from past trials, but also to the happy side effect of improved quality attributable to the existence of a cooperative clinical trials program and infrastructure in the settings in which most children with cancer receive their care."

The research appears in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by JAMA and Archives Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. Carl Koschmann; Blythe Thomson; Douglas S. Hawkins. No Evidence of a Trial Effect in Newly Diagnosed Pediatric Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med, 2010; 164 (3): 214-217 [link]
  2. Steven Joffe. Framing the Benefits of Cancer Clinical Trials. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med, 2010; 164 (3): 293-294 [link]

Cite This Page:

JAMA and Archives Journals. "Clinical trial participation alone may not be associated with improved outcomes for childhood cancer patients." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100301171056.htm>.
JAMA and Archives Journals. (2010, March 1). Clinical trial participation alone may not be associated with improved outcomes for childhood cancer patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 6, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100301171056.htm
JAMA and Archives Journals. "Clinical trial participation alone may not be associated with improved outcomes for childhood cancer patients." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100301171056.htm (accessed March 6, 2015).

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