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Few physicians refer patients to cancer clinical trials
Date:2/11/2011

patients referred or enrolled was 17.2 for medical oncologists, 9.5 for radiation oncologists, and 12.2 for surgeons. The researchers note that primary care physicians have limited involvement in discussing clinical trial participation with patients; and that financial incentives were associated with physicians' clinical trials accrual volume, a finding consistent with previous studies showing financial incentives influence physician behavior.

The researchers point out certain limitations of their study: the physicians surveyed do not comprise a nationally representative sample; the study is based on physicians' self-reports of their participation in clinical trials; and the measure of trials participation combined patient referral and enrollment.

The researchers conclude that continued monitoring of physician participation in cancer clinical trials is essential. They write, "More research is needed to better understand clinician attitudes toward clinical research and to examine specific features of practice infrastructureincluding availability of support staff, electronic health records, reimbursement, and clinical trial databasesthat facilitate or hinder physician participation in clinical trials."

In an accompanying editorial, Lori M. Minasian, M.D., and Ann M. O'Mara, M.D., of the Community Oncology and Prevention Trials Research Group at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), write that "the American public continues to value medical research," and cite a Mayo clinic study in which 76% of patients said they expected their treating physician to inform them about clinical trials.

The authors also point out that medical students will be required to learn about clinical and translational research, according to a new standard from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education.

The authors conclude: "If we want research to inform practice, we need a workforce of physicians who value the research and understand how to incorp
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Contact: Kristine Crane
jncimedia@oxfordjournals.org
301-841-1285
Journal of the National Cancer Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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