Cancer Treatment Studies Abandoned Before Completion

Waste and inefficiency cited as major cause of abandonment.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) reviewed government-funded cancer treatment research studies and determined that 40% of clinical trials are abandoned prior to completion because of waste and inefficiency. The IOM found that the National Cancer Institute's Clinical Trials Cooperative Group Program (CTCGP) consequently is unable to effectively study the benefits of new and current cancer treatments.

Recommendations include improving CTCGP efficiency and reducing the time required to design and launch clinical trials by consolidating cooperative group functions and streamlining processes. It was also recommended that scientific innovations, such as biomarkers, begin to be incorporated in study designs. Increased funding was recommended to adequately conduct studies that have the greatest likelihood of improving patients' survival and quality of life. This in turn would increase the study completion rate and allow earlier publication of study findings so they may be applied in practice. Lastly, incentives for study participation were recommended to fully cover the costs of conducting clinical trials.

The complete IOM report is available at