The ATAC (Arimidex, Tamoxifen, Alone or in Combination) adjuvant breast cancer trial in postmenopausal patients: factors influencing the success of patient recruitment

Eur J Cancer. 2002 Oct;38(15):1984-6. doi: 10.1016/s0959-8049(02)00154-5.


The ATAC ('Arimidex', Tamoxifen, Alone or in Combination) trial is a randomised, double-blind, double-dummy trial, evaluating anastrozole alone or in combination with tamoxifen compared with tamoxifen alone, as a 5-year adjuvant treatment for postmenopausal patients with early breast cancer. The rapid rate of recruitment into this trial was a major achievement, as frequently encountered differences between projected and actual recruitment rates can threaten the successful completion of clinical trials. A questionnaire designed in order to highlight possible factors influencing the success of patient recruitment was completed by 62% of the ATAC trialists. This included 11 statements rated for their level of importance on a three-point scale. The top three motives for recruiting patients were: (1) the attractive scientific rationale of the trial (84%); (2) a design that was easy to explain to patients (79%); and (3) a pragmatic trial design in line with standard practice (76%). A new questionnaire will solicit opinion from the participating patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Anastrozole
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Nitriles / administration & dosage
  • Patient Selection
  • Postmenopause
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tamoxifen / administration & dosage
  • Triazoles / administration & dosage


  • Nitriles
  • Triazoles
  • Tamoxifen
  • Anastrozole