Adapting clinical trials networks to promote cancer prevention and control research.

Author(s): Weiner BJ,  McKinney MM,  Carpenter WR

Journal: Cancer

Date: 2006 Jan 1

Major Program(s) or Research Group(s): CCOP, COPTRG

PubMed ID: 16333855

PMC ID: not available

Abstract: BACKGROUND: Since 1987, cancer centers and clinical cooperative groups serving as 'research bases' for the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP) have been required to design and conduct cancer prevention and control (CP/C) clinical trials in addition to therapeutic trials. The study describes the structural and strategic adaptations that CCOP research bases have made to incorporate CP/C research into their scientific agendas and operations. METHODS: Approaches to CP/C research in four cooperative groups with different scientific agendas were investigated: the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project, the North Central Cancer Treatment Group, and the Southwest Oncology Group. Sixty-five individual interviews with group leaders and investigators were conducted. Data were coded and thematically analyzed from transcribed interviews, observations of scientific sessions, and secondary documents. RESULTS: The cooperative groups have tailored CP/C research programs to fit the interests, skills, and practice settings of their investigators without making significant adaptations in administrative and statistical infrastructures. Ongoing challenges include finding ways to broaden the pool of investigators designing CP/C protocols, involve more nononcologists in protocol design, and secure more stable and adequate funding for CP/C research. CONCLUSION: The cooperative groups' experiences with CP/C research suggest that, with adequate resource investments, existing clinical research networks can expand into new areas of scientific investigation.