Clinical Trial Enrollment is Associated With Improved Follow-up Rates Among Survivors of Childhood Cancer

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Fortunately >80% of children diagnosed with cancer become long-term survivors; however, this population is at a significantly increased risk of morbidity and mortality as a result of their previous cancer therapy, and long-term follow-up (LTFU) is critical. Multiple barriers to receiving adequate LTFU care have been studied. We investigated whether lack of enrollment in a therapeutic clinical trial may be a barrier to receiving LTFU care. We conducted a review of 353 patient records at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan enrolled in our Children’s Oncology Group registry between January 1, 2005 and December 31, 2010. In total, 71 patients were excluded (death before follow-up, n=61; currently receiving therapy, n=5; known transfer of care, n=4; insufficient information, n=1). In total, 158 (56%) patients were enrolled in a therapeutic clinical trial. Follow-up rates at 1-, 2- and 5-years following completion of therapy for patients enrolled in a therapeutic clinical trial were 96.8% (153/158), 93.7% (148/158), and 81.7% (103/126), respectively, compared with 83.1% (103/124; P<0.001), 74.2% (92/124; P<0.001), and 66.7% (72/108; P=0.001) for patients not enrolled. Our findings suggest patients enrolled in a therapeutic clinical trial have better LTFU rates and supports the importance of patient enrollment in therapeutic clinical trials when possible. Additional resources may be warranted to improve LTFU for patients not enrolled.

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