Oncology Best Supportive Care Studies Faulted

Systematic review demonstrates need to improve studies' methodological and ethical validity
By Rick Ansorge
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- In oncology, best supportive care studies exhibit ethical and methodological shortcomings, and systematic bias or error that may be due to ad hoc supportive care and lack of standardized delivery, according to a study published online June 29 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Nathan I. Cherny, of the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of 32 studies, including 20 that assessed the design of treatment plus supportive care versus supportive care alone and 12 that assessed the design of treatment versus supportive care.

The researchers found that most studies did not comply with critical components of the Helsinki Requirements of the World Medical Association, methodological precautions issued by the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials, and four of seven universal requirements for ethical clinical research.

"To optimize the well-being of participants in research and patients in practice, supportive and palliative care need to be addressed with the same professional rigor, professionalism, and adherence to standards as the disease-modifying aspects of cancer care," the authors conclude. "Rectification of these shortcomings in future studies and publications will demand greater vigilance to these issues by researchers, institutional review boards, editors, and peer reviewers."

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