Wide Disparity in Internet Information about Clinical Trials
Behind the Cancer Headlines®
April 30, 2003
The number of patients and physicians
seeking health-related information on the Internet continues to grow, but the
completeness of tools such as online databases is always in question.
One of the many areas of online
promise lies in providing information to the public about clinical trial
availability and eligibility criteria. This is particularly important for
patients with cancer, a group that would benefit from increased, reliable access
to trial information.
Using a combination of MEDLINE and Web
searching, James Till, Robert Phillips and Alejandro Jadad attempted to detail
the completeness of online databases of breast cancer clinical trials available
in Canada. Writing in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, they
noted that the most complete database was the Physician Data Query (PDQ)
Clinical Trials Database of the U.S. National Cancer Institute, which identified
86% of trials. Canada's most comprehensive online site identified 29%.
"Our results suggest there is no
comprehensive online database of cancer clinical trials in Canada,"
conclude the authors, who add that future studies should examine incentives to
motivate the online listing of trials.
Canadian Medical Association (http://www.cma.ca)