Investigator disclosure and advanced cancer patient understanding of informed consent and prognosis in phase i clinical trials

Fay J. Hlubocky, Nancy E. Kass, Debra Roter, Susan Larson, Kristen E. Wroblewski, Jeremy Sugarman, Christopher K. Daugherty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose Advanced cancer patients (ACPs) who participate in phase I clinical trials often report a less-than-ideal understanding of the required elements of informed consent (IC) and unrealistic expectations for anticancer benefit and prognosis.Weexamined phase I clinical trial enrollment discussions and their associations with subsequent ACP understanding. Methods Clinical encounters about enrollment in phase I trials between 101 ACPs and 29 oncologists (principal investigators [PIs] and fellows) at three US academic medical institutions were recorded. The Roter Interaction Analysis System was used for analysis. ACPs completed follow-up questionnaires to assess IC recall. Results PIs disclosed the following phase I ICelements toACPsin encounters: Trial purpose in 40%; specific physical risks in 60%; potential specific medical benefits gained by trial participation (eg, disease stabilization) in 48.2%; and alternatives to phase I trial participation in 47.1%, with 1.1% of encounters containing palliative and 2.3% hospice information. PIs provided ACP-specific prognoses in 29.0% of encounters but used precise terms of death in only 4.7% and terminal in 1.2%.Asignificant association existed between PI disclosure of the trial purpose as dosage/toxicity, and ACPs subsequently correctly recalled trial purpose versus PIs who did not disclose it (85% v 13%; P , .05). Conclusion Many oncologists provide incomplete disclosures about phase I trials to ACPs. When disclosure of certain elements of IC occurs, it seems to be associated with better recall, especially with regard to the research purpose of phase I trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e357-e367
JournalJournal of oncology practice
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)
  • Health Policy


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