How Have Experimental Cancer Interventions Evolved Over Time?

Stud Health Technol Inform. 2020 Jun 16;270:252-256. doi: 10.3233/SHTI200161.


We performed a trends analysis of experimental cancer interventions. The complete records of 32,623 interventional neoplasm clinical trials involving 454 types of neoplasms from 2000 to 2017 were downloaded from the AACT database. The conditions and drug concepts were normalized using MetaMap. The normalized frequencies (NF) for each type of intervention were calculated and compared. Among 95,440 interventions, 77.4% were drugs, 5.3% were radiation, 6.6% were surgery and 10.6% were other therapies. Among 47,754 arms, 82.8% were mono-type interventions and 17.2% were multi-type interventions. Among 73,889 drug interventions, immunologic factor drugs increased rapidly over the last five years. Both breast cancer and pancreatic cancer have been testing new drugs in clinical trials; however, more drugs have been tested in phase 3 or 4 trials and employed in comparator arms for breast cancer compared to pancreatic cancer. Breast cancer trials showed a more even drug NF distribution than pancreatic cancer trials. The JS Distance among three periods (2000-05 vs. 2006-11 vs. 2012-17) showed unidirectional research progress trend for breast cancer, but reverse trend for pancreatic cancer. This study contributes a large-scale landscape overview of the trends in cancer experimental interventions and a methodology for using public clinical trial summaries for understanding the evolving cancer research.

Keywords: Clinical Trials; Data Science; Trend Analysis.