Demographic and health factors associated with enrollment in posttrial studies: the Women's Health Initiative Hormone Therapy Trials

Clin Trials. 2013;10(3):463-72. doi: 10.1177/1740774513477931. Epub 2013 Mar 12.


Background: After clinical trials end, continued follow-up of the assembled cohort often is desirable for additional research. Factors influencing participants' decisions to consent to additional follow-up and how these shape posttrial cohorts have not been broadly studied.

Purpose: We examined how two re-enrollment campaigns and the passage of time altered features of the posttrial cohorts compared with the original Women's Health Initiative (WHI) Hormone Therapy clinical trials.

Methods: We examined associations that markers of sociodemography, health, lifestyle, and on-trial experiences had with re-enrollment and contrasted the characteristics of successive posttrial cohorts with those of the original enrollees.

Results: The posttrial enrollment campaigns re-enrolled 81.1% and 82.5% of available women, respectively. Women who re-enrolled tended to have better health characteristics than those not re-enrolled. Compared to women of comparable age in the original cohort, women retained for the second posttrial follow-up less often had a history of cardiovascular disease (odds ratio (OR) = 0.36), hypertension (OR = 0.57), diabetes (OR = 0.59), or measured cognitive deficit (OR = 0.40). These women more often had graduated from high school (OR = 1.72) and had participated in other WHI trials (OR = 1.76).

Limitations: We have examined experience with creating follow-up cohorts from participants in a single study. Thus, our findings may not apply to other cohorts and protocols.

Conclusions: Posttrial enrollment in follow-up studies can be successful; however, the characteristics of the resulting cohort may differ substantially from the originally assembled group of trial participants. Collection during the original trial of potential predictors of differential re-enrollment may strengthen interpretation of findings.

Trial registration: NCT00000611 NCT00685009.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / methods*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / statistics & numerical data
  • Cohort Studies*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Patient Selection*
  • Refusal to Participate / statistics & numerical data*
  • Research Subjects
  • Socioeconomic Factors

Associated data