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Conflicts of Interest a Concern for Cancer-Trial Patients

Many patients worry that physicians may have financial or intrinsic conflicts

MONDAY, Aug. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Many patients with advanced cancer who participate in early phase clinical trials are just as concerned about a physician's intrinsic conflict of interest (i.e. "publish or perish") as a financial conflict of interest, according to research published in the Aug. 10 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Christopher Daugherty, M.D., of the University of Chicago, and colleagues interviewed 102 patients with advanced cancer who were enrolled in phase I clinical trials.

The researchers found that 55 percent of patients would be concerned about financial conflicts of interest, but that younger patients were significantly more likely than older patients to express such concerns (odds ratio, 6.22). The investigators also found that 65 percent of patients would be concerned about intrinsic conflicts of interest. Most patients (63 percent) reported that they would participate in trials if all conflict-of-interest information is fully disclosed.

"Both intrinsic and financial conflicts of interest are of particular importance to the oncology community because so much of the research intimately involves both human participants with life-threatening illnesses and the industry," the authors write. "Given this intimacy, there is no doubt that conflicts of interest in oncology research need to be addressed and managed in a way that ensures the safety of human participants and maintains the trust and confidence of the cancer patient community at large."

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