Unique perception of clinical trials by Korean cancer patients
- Equal contributors
1 Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, 50 Irwon-dong Gangnam-gu, Seoul, 135-710, Korea
2 Department of Internal Medicine, Kosin University Gospel Hospital, Busan, Korea
3 Biostatistics team, Samsung Biomedical Research Institute, Samsung Medical Center, Seoul, Korea
BMC Cancer 2012, 12:594 doi:10.1186/1471-2407-12-594Published: 12 December 2012
In the past few years, the number of clinical trials has increased rapidly in East Asia, especially for gastric and hepatobiliary cancer that are prevalent in Asian populations. However, the actual degree of understanding or perceptions of clinical trials by cancer patients in East Asian countries have seldom been studied.
Between July 1st and November 30th of 2011, we conducted a prospective study to survey cancer patients regarding their awareness of, and willingness to participate in, a clinical trial. Patients with gastrointestinal/hepatobiliary cancer who visited the Hematology-Oncology outpatient clinic at Samsung Medical Center (SMC) were enrolled. A total of 21 questions were asked including four questions which used the Visual analogue scale (VAS) score.
In this survey study, 1,000 patients were asked to participate and 675 patients consented to participate (67.5%). The awareness of clinical trials was substantially higher in patients who had a higher level of education (p<0.001), were married (p=0.004), and had a higher economic status (p=0.001). However, the willingness to participate in a clinical trial was not affected by the level of education or economic status of patients. The most influential factors for patient willingness to participate were a physician recommendation (n=181, 26.8%), limited treatment options (n=178, 26.4%), and expectations of effectiveness of new anti-cancer drugs (n=142, 21.0%). Patients with previous experience in clinical trials had a greater willingness to participate in clinical trials compared to patients without previous experience (p<0.001).
This large patient cohort survey study showed that Korean cancer patients are more aware of clinical trials, but awareness did not translate into willingness to participate.