Publication Abstract

Authors: Somkin CP, Ackerson L, Husson G, Gomez V, Kolevska T, Goldstein D, Fehrenbacher L

Title: Effect of medical oncologists' attitudes on accrual to clinical trials in a community setting.

Journal: J Oncol Pract 9(6):e275-83

Date: 2013 Nov

Abstract: PURPOSE: Oncology clinical trials (OCTs) are crucial in evaluating new cancer treatments, but only 2% to 3% of US adult patients with cancer enter OCTs. This study assessed barriers to participation in clinical trials among oncologists in a large integrated health care delivery system with an active clinical trials program. Although many studies have identified major physician barriers to enrollment, few have examined how these barriers affect actual trial accrual. METHODS: Using information from a mailed survey, we examined the effect of oncologists' attitudes, beliefs, experiences, sociodemographic factors, and practice characteristics on clinical trial accrual in the 2 years following the survey. We identified relationships between these variables and subsequent clinical trial accrual using correlations and mixed effects models. RESULTS: A construct combining questions that assessed oncologist attitudes, beliefs, and experiences substantially influenced OCT enrollment (r = .51; P < .0001). This construct included awareness of open clinical trials and specific eligible patients, as well as the practice of initiating a discussion about OCTs with most eligible patients. This broad concept of awareness had the greatest correlation with enrollment and mediated the effect on enrollment of other values and beliefs, such as welcoming a patient's initiation of a trial discussion and valuing the support of research nurses and coordinators. CONCLUSION: Even in a health care setting with an active clinical trials program, substantial research personnel, infrastructure support, and widespread access to trials among oncologists and patients, oncologists' participation remains quite variable. Oncologist values, beliefs, and awareness of clinical trials play an important role in OCT accrual.