Objectives/hypothesis: Compare U.S. clinical trials sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and industry, especially with regard to trial design, interventions studied, and results reporting rates.
Study design: U.S. head and neck cancer clinical trials.
Methods: We used information from ClinicalTrials.gov to compare NIH- and industry-sponsored head and neck cancer clinical trials, specifically analyzing differences in trial design and interventions studied. We examined publication rates and positive results rates using PubMed.gov.
Results: About 50% of NIH- and industry-sponsored clinical trials have their results reported in peer-reviewed literature. Industry-sponsored trials had higher rates of positive results than NIH-sponsored trials. NIH- and industry-sponsored clinical trials had similar trial designs, although industry-sponsored trials had significantly lower rates of randomization. Industry trials utilized radiation in 19% of trials and surgery in 2% of trials. NIH trials also had low utilization of both radiation and surgery (27% and 12% of trials, respectively). NIH- and industry-sponsored trials published their results in journals with comparable impact factors.
Conclusion: There is significant underreporting of results in U.S. head and neck cancer clinical trials, whether sponsored by NIH or industry. Industry trials have significantly higher rates of positive results, although it is unclear what contributes to this. Both NIH- and industry-sponsored trials underutilize surgery and radiation as treatment modalities, despite the fact that these are standard-of-care therapies for head and neck cancer. We recommend that the NIH and industry report all results from clinical trials and use surgery and radiation as treatment arms in order to arrive at more balanced therapeutic recommendations.
Level of evidence: N/A. Laryngoscope, 126:E300-E303, 2016.
Keywords: ClinicalTrials.gov; Head and neck cancer; PubMed.gov; chemotherapeutics; radiation therapy; surgery; thyroid cancer.
© 2016 The American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Society, Inc.