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. 2019 Aug 15;9(1):11877.
doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-48425-5.

An Empirical Assessment of Research Practices Across 163 Clinical Trials of Tumor-Bearing Companion Dogs

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Free PMC article

An Empirical Assessment of Research Practices Across 163 Clinical Trials of Tumor-Bearing Companion Dogs

Yuan Jin Tan et al. Sci Rep. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Comparative clinical trials of domestic dogs with spontaneously-occurring cancers are increasingly common. Canine cancers are likely more representative of human cancers than induced murine tumors. These trials could bridge murine models and human trials and better prioritize drug candidates. Such investigations also benefit veterinary patients. We aimed to evaluate the design and reporting practices of clinical trials containing ≥2 arms and involving tumor-bearing dogs. 163 trials containing 8552 animals were systematically retrieved from PubMed (searched 1/18/18). Data extracted included sample sizes, response criteria, study design, and outcome reporting. Low sample sizes were prevalent (median n = 33). The median detectable hazard ratio was 0.3 for overall survival and 0.06 for disease progression. Progressive disease thresholds for studies that did not adopt VCOG-RECIST guidelines varied in stringency. Additionally, there was significant underreporting across all Cochrane risk of bias categories. The proportion of studies with unclear reporting ranged from 44% (randomization) to 94% (selective reporting). 72% of studies also failed to define a primary outcome. The present study confirms previous findings that clinical trials in dogs need to be improved, particularly regarding low statistical power and underreporting of design and outcomes.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no competing interests.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Study flowchart showing publications excluded or included in the analysis.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Histograms showing distribution of (a) total study sample size, (b) sample size by American Cancer Society tumor type, (c) sample size by intervention arm, and distributions of detectable hazard ratios (HRs) for (d) survival and (e) disease progression. The median for each distribution is annotated and represented by the vertical dashed lines.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Cochrane risk of bias assessment for canine trials. Shown are the 6 Cochrane tool categories, with risk evaluation color coded as follows: high risk (red), low risk (green), unclear reporting (yellow)
Figure 4
Figure 4
Characterization of primary outcomes (a) and outcomes found in the abstract (b) for canine trials.

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