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NCCN Survey Analyzes Clinical Trial Accrual at Academic Cancer Centers


Identifying clinical trial benchmarking metrics and best practices at NCCN Member Institutions is the focus of a recent survey conducted by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®). A poster presentation of the survey analysis will be featured at the 2010 ASCO Annual Meeting on June 7, 2010.


June 4, 2010

FORT WASHINGTON — Clinical research is at the heart of National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) center operations, as it constitutes a core mission of NCCN Member Institutions. Although clinical trials are the cornerstone for advancing treatments in cancer, recruitment to clinical trials remains a considerable challenge even for leading NCCN academic cancer centers. To gain insight into the operations of Clinical Trials Offices (CTOs), protocol review processes, and patient accrual to clinical trials, NCCN conducted a Research Benchmarking Survey at NCCN Member Institutions in 2008 (reporting on 2007 data). Results from the survey will be presented in poster format at the 2010 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago on June 7, 2010.

The 2008 NCCN Research Benchmarking Survey utilized clinical trials benchmarking metrics based on CTO budgets, full-time equivalents (FTEs), and patient accruals.

“Our primary goal was to benchmark CTO operations and processes at NCCN Member Institutions and use this data to identify best practices in academic cancer center clinical research operations,” said presenting author Stephen L. Sherman of NCCN.

The survey collected quantitative and descriptive data on patient accrual, CTO organization, research infrastructure, staffing, and clinical trials management. It also included questions on innovative approaches designed to increase accrual to clinical trials.

Results from 17 participating NCCN Member Institutions that submitted patient accrual data indicate that more than 16,000 patients were accrued to therapeutic clinical trials over a 12-month reporting period, translating to accrual rates ranging from 10 to 24 percent. Of these participants, minority accrual rates ranged from 6 to 28 percent.

The authors note that increasing minority accrual to clinical trials remains an ongoing priority among all NCCN Member Institutions.

In addition, the average CTO operating budget for 15 NCCN Member Institutions that provided funding information was $4.7 million, while the mean number of therapeutic accruals per CTO FTE was 10.6. Seven of the participating centers demonstrated best practices in implementing a value stream analysis of the protocol approval process. Value stream mapping is a process analysis and improvement technique used to analyze the flow of materials and information required to bring a product or service to a patient.

NCCN is currently conducting a 2010 version of the Research Benchmarking Survey. This survey has been refined to better evaluate the steps involved and overall timetable to open clinical trials, from protocol submission to patient accrual. NCCN plans to undertake longitudinal analyses of common data among the 2008 and 2010 Research Benchmarking Surveys.

“Clinical research is imperative to NCCN Member Institutions, yet it also represents one of the most significant challenges with many opportunities for improvement,” noted Sherman. “Continued development of benchmark data and best practices across these centers will promote enhanced operations and patient accrual in therapeutic clinical trials.”

The poster presentation of the above data will be available for viewing from 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM on Monday, June 7, at location SHall A2.

Additional authors include Marcy B. Waldinger, MHSA, University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center; and Eva. M. Lepisto, MSc; Jennifer M. Hinkel; Kristie A. Minogue; and Diane E. Paul, National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

About the National Comprehensive Cancer Network

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®), a not-for-profit alliance of 25 of the world's leading cancer centers, is dedicated to improving the quality and effectiveness of care provided to patients with cancer. Through the leadership and expertise of clinical professionals at NCCN Member Institutions, NCCN develops resources that present valuable information to the numerous stakeholders in the health care delivery system. As the arbiter of high-quality cancer care, NCCN promotes the importance of continuous quality improvement and recognizes the significance of creating clinical practice guidelines appropriate for use by patients, clinicians, and other health care decision-makers. The primary goal of all NCCN initiatives is to improve the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of oncology practice so patients can live better lives. For more information, visit NCCN.org.

The NCCN Member Institutions are:

  • Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center at The Nebraska Medical Center
  • City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center
    Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
  • Duke Cancer Institute
  • Fox Chase Cancer Center
  • Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah
  • Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center / Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
  • The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins
  • Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University
  • Mayo Clinic Cancer Center
  • Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
  • Moffitt Cancer Center
  • The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute
  • Roswell Park Cancer Institute
  • Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine
  • St. Jude Children's Research Hospital/The University of Tennessee Health Science Center
  • Stanford Cancer Institute
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center
  • UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • University of Colorado Cancer Center
  • University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
  • Yale Cancer Center/Smilow Cancer Hospital