Perceptions of Cancer Patients and Their Physicians Involved in Phase I Trials
Ratain, Mark J.
Journal of Clinical Oncology. 1995 May; 13(5): 1062-1072.
PURPOSE: In an attempt to understand some of the complex issues related to the participation of cancer patients in phase I trials, and the perceptions of patients toward these trials, we conducted a pilot survey study of 30 cancer patients who had given informed consent to participate in a phase I trial at our institution. Concurrently, the oncologists identified by the surveyed patients as responsible for their care were surveyed as well. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Twenty-seven of 30 consecutive patients agreed to and completed the survey. Patients were surveyed before they received any investigational agents. Eighteen oncologists participated in this survey study. RESULTS: Eighty-five percent of patients decided to participate in a phase I trial for reasons of possible therapeutic benefit, 11% because of advice/trust of physicians, and 4% because of family pressures. Ninety-three percent said that they understood all (33%) or most (60%) of the information provided about the trials in which they had decided to participate. Only 33% were able to state the purpose of the trial in which they were participating, with patients able to state the purpose of phase I trials being more educated (P = .01). Surveyed oncologists had wide-ranging beliefs regarding expectations of possible benefits and toxicities for their patients participating in phase I trials. CONCLUSION: Cancer patients who participate in phase I trials are strongly motivated by the hope of therapeutic benefit. Altruistic feelings appear to have a limited and inconsequential role in motivating patients to participate in these trials. Cancer patients who participate in phase I trials appear to have an adequate self-perceived knowledge of the risks of investigational agents. However, only a minority of patients appear to have an adequate understanding of the purpose of phase I trials as dose-escalation/dose-determination studies.
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