• The QUORUM statement.

    6 March 2018

  • Treatment success in cancer: new cancer treatment successes identified in phase 3 randomized controlled trials conducted by the National Cancer Institute-sponsored cooperative oncology groups, 1955 to 2006.

    8 December 2017

    BACKGROUND: The evaluation of research output, such as estimation of the proportion of treatment successes, is of ethical, scientific, and public importance but has rarely been evaluated systematically. We assessed how often experimental cancer treatments that undergo testing in randomized clinical trials (RCTs) result in discovery of successful new interventions. METHODS: We extracted data from all completed (published and unpublished) phase 3 RCTs conducted by the National Cancer Institute cooperative groups since their inception in 1955. Therapeutic successes were determined by (1) assessing the proportion of statistically significant trials favoring new or standard treatments, (2) determining the proportion of the trials in which new treatments were considered superior to standard treatments according to the original researchers, and (3) quantitatively synthesizing data for main clinical outcomes (overall and event-free survival). RESULTS: Data from 624 trials (781 randomized comparisons) involving 216 451 patients were analyzed. In all, 30% of trials had statistically significant results, of which new interventions were superior to established treatments in 80% of trials. The original researchers judged that the risk-benefit profile favored new treatments in 41% of comparisons (316 of 766). Hazard ratios for overall and event-free survival, available for 614 comparisons, were 0.95 (99% confidence interval [CI], 0.93-0.98) and 0.90 (99% CI, 0.87- 0.93), respectively, slightly favoring new treatments. Breakthrough interventions were discovered in 15% of trials. CONCLUSIONS: Approximately 25% to 50% of new cancer treatments that reach the stage of assessment in RCTs will prove successful. The pattern of successes has become more stable over time. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that the ethical principle of equipoise defines limits of discoverability in clinical research and ultimately drives therapeutic advances in clinical medicine.

  • COS-STAR: a reporting guideline for studies developing core outcome sets (protocol).

    9 March 2018

    BACKGROUND: Core outcome sets can increase the efficiency and value of research and, as a result, there are an increasing number of studies looking to develop core outcome sets (COS). However, the credibility of a COS depends on both the use of sound methodology in its development and clear and transparent reporting of the processes adopted. To date there is no reporting guideline for reporting COS studies. The aim of this programme of research is to develop a reporting guideline for studies developing COS and to highlight some of the important methodological considerations in the process. METHODS/DESIGN: The study will include a reporting guideline item generation stage which will then be used in a Delphi study. The Delphi study is anticipated to include two rounds. The first round will ask stakeholders to score the items listed and to add any new items they think are relevant. In the second round of the process, participants will be shown the distribution of scores for all stakeholder groups separately and asked to re-score. A final consensus meeting will be held with an expert panel and stakeholder representatives to review the guideline item list. Following the consensus meeting, a reporting guideline will be drafted and review and testing will be undertaken until the guideline is finalised. The final outcome will be the COS-STAR (Core Outcome Set-STAndards for Reporting) guideline for studies developing COS and a supporting explanatory document. DISCUSSION: To assess the credibility and usefulness of a COS, readers of a COS development report need complete, clear and transparent information on its methodology and proposed core set of outcomes. The COS-STAR guideline will potentially benefit all stakeholders in COS development: COS developers, COS users, e.g. trialists and systematic reviewers, journal editors, policy-makers and patient groups.

  • CONSORT for reporting randomized controlled trials in journal and conference abstracts: explanation and elaboration.

    16 March 2018

    BACKGROUND: Clear, transparent, and sufficiently detailed abstracts of conferences and journal articles related to randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are important, because readers often base their assessment of a trial solely on information in the abstract. Here, we extend the CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials) Statement to develop a minimum list of essential items, which authors should consider when reporting the results of a RCT in any journal or conference abstract. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We generated a list of items from existing quality assessment tools and empirical evidence. A three-round, modified-Delphi process was used to select items. In all, 109 participants were invited to participate in an electronic survey; the response rate was 61%. Survey results were presented at a meeting of the CONSORT Group in Montebello, Canada, January 2007, involving 26 participants, including clinical trialists, statisticians, epidemiologists, and biomedical editors. Checklist items were discussed for eligibility into the final checklist. The checklist was then revised to ensure that it reflected discussions held during and subsequent to the meeting. CONSORT for Abstracts recommends that abstracts relating to RCTs have a structured format. Items should include details of trial objectives; trial design (e.g., method of allocation, blinding/masking); trial participants (i.e., description, numbers randomized, and number analyzed); interventions intended for each randomized group and their impact on primary efficacy outcomes and harms; trial conclusions; trial registration name and number; and source of funding. We recommend the checklist be used in conjunction with this explanatory document, which includes examples of good reporting, rationale, and evidence, when available, for the inclusion of each item. CONCLUSIONS: CONSORT for Abstracts aims to improve reporting of abstracts of RCTs published in journal articles and conference proceedings. It will help authors of abstracts of these trials provide the detail and clarity needed by readers wishing to assess a trial's validity and the applicability of its results.

  • A common KIF6 polymorphism increases vulnerability to low-density lipoprotein cholesterol: Two meta-analyses and a meta-regression analysis

    19 February 2018

    Background: We sought to determine if a common polymorphism can influence vulnerability to LDL cholesterol, and thereby influence the clinical benefit derived from therapies that reduce LDL cholesterol. Methods: We conducted a meta-analysis of the association between a common Trp719Arg polymorphism in the kinesin-like protein 6 (KIF6) gene and the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), and a meta-regression analysis to measure the effect modification of this polymorphism on the association between LDL cholesterol and the risk of CVD. We used this measure of genetic effect modification to predict the expected difference in clinical benefit among KIF6 719Arg allele carriers and non-carriers in response to therapies that reduce LDL cholesterol. We then conducted a meta-analysis of statin trials to compare the expected difference in clinical benefit with the observed difference during treatment with a statin. Results: In a meta-analysis involving 144,931 participants, the KIF6 719Arg allele was not associated with the relative risk (RR) of CVD (RR: 1.02, 95%CI: 0.98-1.07, p = 0.288). Meta-regression analysis involving 88,535 participants, however, showed that the 719Arg allele appears to influence the effect of LDL cholesterol on the risk of CVD. KIF6 carriers experienced a 13% greater reduction in the risk of CVD per mmol/L decrease in LDL cholesterol than non-carriers. We interpreted this difference as the expected difference in clinical benefit among KIF6 carriers and non-carriers in response to therapies that lower LDL cholesterol. The difference in clinical benefit predicted by the increased vulnerability to LDL cholesterol among KIF6 carriers (ratio of RR: 0.87, 95%CI: 0.80-0.94, p = 0.001) agreed very closely with the observed difference among 50,060 KIF6 carriers and non-carriers enrolled in 8 randomized trials of statin therapy (ratio of RR: 0.87, 95%CI: 0.77-0.99, p = 0.038). Conclusion: The KIF6 719Arg allele increases vulnerability to LDL cholesterol and thereby influences the expected clinical benefit of therapies that reduce LDL cholesterol. © 2011 Ference et al.