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Most Cancer Treatment Studies Aren't Published, Study Finds
Date:9/15/2008

Concern Raised about 'Cancer Publication Bias'

DURHAM, N.C., Sept. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Less than 20 percent of registered clinical trials of cancer treatment are eventually published in medical journals, according to a study published online today by the journal "The Oncologist."

(LOGO: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080627/CLF051LOGO )

Drs. Scott Ramsey and John Scoggins of University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, searched the National Institutes of Health's ClinicalTrials.gov registry to identify 2,028 registered research studies of cancer treatment. Major medical journals now require that all studies considered for publication be registered in a publicly accessible database like ClinicalTrials.gov .

A subsequent search of the National Library of Medicine's PubMed database showed that just 17.6 percent of the trials were eventually published in peer-reviewed medical journals. "We find that less than 1 in 5 completed trials registered since the inception of ClinicalTrials.gov are listed in the registry or PubMed as published manuscripts," Drs. Ramsey and Scoggins write.

The publication rate was particularly low for "industry-sponsored" studies, such as those funded by pharmaceutical companies -- just 5.9 percent, compared to 59 percent for studies sponsored by collaborative research networks.

Of published studies, nearly two-thirds had "positive" results-the study treatment worked as hoped. The remaining one-third had "negative" results -- the outcome was disappointing or did not merit further consideration of the tested treatment.

This finding raises concern about "publication bias" in cancer treatment trials. The researchers suspect that the rate of negative results is much higher in the studies that have gone unpublished. Drs. Ramsey and Scoggins write, "It is likely that
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SOURCE AlphaMed Press
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