The Importance of Quality Assurance in Radiation Oncology Clinical Trials

Semin Radiat Oncol. 2023 Oct;33(4):395-406. doi: 10.1016/j.semradonc.2023.06.005.


Clinical trials have been the center of progress in modern medicine. In oncology, we are fortunate to have a structure in place through the National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN). The NCTN provides the infrastructure and a forum for scientific discussion to develop clinical concepts for trial design. The NCTN also provides a network group structure to administer trials for successful trial management and outcome analyses. There are many important aspects to trial design and conduct. Modern trials need to ensure appropriate trial conduct and secure data management processes. Of equal importance is the quality assurance of a clinical trial. If progress is to be made in oncology clinical medicine, investigators and patient care providers of service need to feel secure that trial data is complete, accurate, and well-controlled in order to be confident in trial analysis and move trial outcome results into daily practice. As our technology has matured, so has our need to apply technology in a uniform manner for appropriate interpretation of trial outcomes. In this article, we review the importance of quality assurance in clinical trials involving radiation therapy. We will include important aspects of institution and investigator credentialing for participation as well as ongoing processes to ensure that each trial is being managed in a compliant manner. We will provide examples of the importance of complete datasets to ensure study interpretation. We will describe how successful strategies for quality assurance in the past will support new initiatives moving forward.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic*
  • Data Management
  • Humans
  • Medical Oncology
  • Radiation Oncology*
  • Records