Background: Enrolment of cancer patients in clinical trials is associated with significant positive outcomes. There are, however, limited Australian data on enrolment of patients with haematological malignancies to clinical trials. Aim: The aim of this study is to document the number of patients with haematological malignancies enrolled on clinical trials in NSW, to establish the barriers to trial recruitment and to examine possible means by which clinical trials participation may be improved. Methods: Quantitative data on clinical trial accrual were obtained from all sites participating in clinical trials in haematological malignancies in NSW from 2004 to 2007 and were compared with the cancer incidence data for that period. Qualitative data on barriers and strategies for improvement were gathered using semi-structured interviews with clinical trials professionals from throughout NSW. Results: Between 2004 and 2007 there were significant increases in the number of active centres, clinical trials and trial participation, and by 2007, 10.5% of all eligible patients with haematological malignancies in NSW were enrolled in relevant clinical trials. Resource constraints were the greatest perceived barrier to participation, but the success of clinical trials is also challenged by difficulties associated with communication, ethics review, trial coordination, trial design and support for emerging centres. Conclusion: While participation in clinical trials in haematological cancer in NSW improved between 2004 and 2007, participation in clinical trials remains suboptimal. The development of specific strategies to address barriers to participation may facilitate increased enrolment and ultimately improve clinical outcomes in patients with haematological malignancies.
Internal Medicine Journal Vol. 40, Issue 2, p. 133-138