Clinical trial participation no benefit to pediatric leukemia patients

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Can the enrollment in a clinical trial, on its own, be linked to improved outcome for certain cancer patients? In the case of kids with the most common form of pediatric cancer, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), the answer appears to be a disheartening No.

In a retrospective cohort study of 322 Seattle Children's Hospital patients with newly diagnosed ALL between 1997 and 2005, researchers determined that there was no outcome advantage for those who participated. They reached the rather shifty conclusion that "Discussions about participation in a clinical trial should focus on improvement of future therapy, not the direct benefit of the research participant." Easier said than done when the participant is a child.

The findings were published in the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine for March 2010. They were accompanied by a counterpoint editorial written by Dr. Steven Joffe, Framing the Benefits of Cancer Clinical Trials.

By Ross Bonander

Source: No Evidence of a Trial Effect in Newly Diagnosed Pediatric Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

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