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Clinical Trial Participation Is Associated With Improved Outcome in Women With Ovarian Cancer
  1. William R. Robinson, MD,
  2. Joyce Ritter, CTR,
  3. April S. Rogers, MSN,
  4. Sean Tedjarati, MD and
  5. Christy Lieberenz, RN
  1. Harrington Cancer Center/Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Amarillo, TX.
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to William R. Robinson, MD, Harrington Cancer Center, 1500 Wallace Blvd, Amarillo, TX 79106. E-mail: wrobinson{at}


Objectives: To determine the effect of participation in clinical trials on survival of women with ovarian cancer. Disease-specific factors and demographics were also examined.

Methods: A total of 158 women were treated for ovarian cancer at a regional cancer center. All patients were offered treatment with surgery/chemotherapy and were screened at diagnosis for participation in clinical research. Progression-free and overall survival, as well as demographic- and treatment-related data, were recorded.

Results: Fifty-three participated in clinical trials and 105 did not. On-study versus off-study subjects were similar in age (64.1 vs 63.5 years), ethnicity (87% vs 85% white), performance status (100% 0-1 Gynecologic Oncology Group scale), and urban versus rural lifestyle (58% vs 55% urban). Stage of disease, histologic subtype, and type/amount of therapy were also similar. Kaplan-Meier analysis showed superior overall survival for on-study subjects (median, 46 vs 25 months, 95% confidence interval, 1.0299-2.1505 months, P = 0.0343). A trend toward improved progression-free survival approached significance for on-study subjects (median, 23 vs 9 months, 95% confidence interval, 0.9545-2.0022 months, P = 0.0866).

Conclusions: Women with ovarian cancer who participate in clinical trials at this institution have improved survival compared with those who are treated with standard therapies. No other factors examined were associated with treatment completion or survival. Further, participation in clinical research does not vary by age, ethnicity, urban versus rural lifestyle, or cancer stage or histologic subtype. However, disclosure of this information to potential clinical trial participants may represent an ethical conflict and should be carefully considered in light of existing ethical guidelines for human subject research.

  • Ovarian cancer
  • Clinical trials
  • Ethics

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