Clinical trials are fundamental to establishing if new cancer treatments or new ways of using existing therapies, diagnostic tests, preventative or supportive interventions are effective and safe and they help generate the evidence for best-practice cancer care.1
Patients enrolled in clinical trials tend to have better outcomes in terms of quality-of-life and survival, most likely due to greater adherence to guidelines and protocols by clinicians.2
The number and proportion of adult cancer patients enrolled in clinical trials is currently not known in Australia. As a result, an understanding of unwarranted variation in clinical trial participation between population groups is also not known. For example, research from the United States suggests that clinical trial participation varies significantly by age and ethnicity.3 The lack of similar Australian data means that opportunities for policy approaches to increase clinical trial participation are currently not supported by a strong evidence base.
There are currently no national data available for this indicator. Cancer Australia is progressing the development of this indicator.
Evidence from other developed countries suggests that clinical trial participation rates for adult cancer patients are relatively low across the population. For example, the participation rate ranged from 0.2% to 6.6% of cancer patients across Canadian provinces in 2014,2 while the rates were higher in the United Kingdom at 14% in 2006.4
Information about the measure(s):
The measure for this indicator is yet to be determined.
Links to other content:
1. Australian Clinical Trials. What is a clinical trial? Available here.
2. Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. The 2016 Cancer System Performance Report. Toronto: Canadian Partnership Against Cancer; 2016
3. Murthy VH, et. al., Participation in Cancer Clinical Trials Race-, Sex-, and Age-Based Disparities JAMA; 2004, 291(22):2720-2726
4. Sinha G 2007. United Kingdom becomes the cancer clinical trials recruitment capital of the world. J Natl Cancer Inst. 99(6): 420.