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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 53  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 174-177

Barriers in conducting clinical trials in oncology in the developing world: A cross-sectional survey of oncologists

1 Department of Head Neck Surgical Oncology, Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Medical Oncology, Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
3 Department of Radiation Oncology, Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
A K D’Cruz
Department of Head Neck Surgical Oncology, Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-509X.180865

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Background: Several obstacles impede oncologists from performing clinical trials in the developing world. This study aimed to identify these barriers in order of importance and suggest possible remedial measures. Materials and Methods: Design – cross-sectional survey. Two part questionnaire capturing experience of oncologists in practice and conducting trials (Part 1) and perceived barriers pertaining to investigator (training, time), patient (strict follow-up protocol), infrastructure (funds) and professional environment (encouragement from seniors) (Part 2) were administered to oncologists in two different settings: (1) Online portal (Survey Monkey) (2) In person during a national conference (Best of American Society of Clinical Oncology). Responses were captured on a Likert scale (1–5). Results:(436/3021) 14.04% responded. A total of 313 (71.8%) had experience in conducting trials, but these were mainly industry-sponsored or small nonpractice changing studies. Lack of patient follow-up was the most significant barrier (inter quartile range [IQR] 4–5) followed by inadequate training, time and funds (IQR 2–5) and lack of encouragement (IQR 2–4) in decreasing order of frequency. Lack of adequate training was a barrier across all specialties (113 [71.97%] radiation oncologists, 71 [60.68%] medical oncologists and 73 [71.56%] surgical oncologists). More than half of the respondents without experience in clinical trials worked in academic institutions (50.48%). They perceived time constraint as a barrier more than their counterparts into private practice (175/242 [72.31%] vs. 119/177 [66.47%] respectively). Conclusion: Inability to maintain patient follow-up, lack of protected time and funds, inadequate training were the most significant barriers. Most of these can be addressed.


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