Clinical trials in cancer therapy: Efforts to improve patient enrollment by community oncologists

William B. Fisher, Stuart J. Cohen, Monica K. Hammond, Sandra Turner, Patrick J. Loehrer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


A prerequisite for the completion of a clinical trial is the accrual of adequate numbers of patients. It is estimated that over 90-95% of all cancer patients are now treated in their local communities by practicing oncologists and are not seen by primary investigators at teaching hospitals. One risk of this trend is decreased patient enrollment into clinical trials. The private practitioner often lacks the academic oncologist's incentives to participate in clinical research. The Hoosier Oncology Group (HOG) is composed of community medical and radiation oncologists (85%) and Indiana University faculty members (15%). In an effort to improve patient enrollment onto clinical cancer research trials, HOG has attempted to identify 1) the major obstacles to patient enrollment by community oncologists and 2) potential aids to overcome such obstacles. One hundred fourteen members were surveyed and 75 responded (66%). The major obstacles were, in descending order: time demands on both the oncologist and his staff; explaining clinical trials to patients; completing flow sheets; perceived increased cost to the patient; remembering protocols; adhering to a rigid protocol. Aids identified as potentially most helpful were, in descending order: pocket-sized synopses of protocols; computer generated, individualized prompts; the availability of a clinical trials specialist to explain the clinical trial to patients and assist in obtaining informed consent; the availability of a video tape which could be used to explain clinical trials to patients. These aids are being implemented with the attempt to systemically study their impact on patient accrual.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-168
Number of pages4
JournalMedical and Pediatric Oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1991


  • Cancer patients
  • Local communities
  • Practicing oncologists

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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