Assessing barriers to a rational chemoprevention trial design in young patients with familial adenomatous polyposis
Familial adenomatous polyposis coli (FAP) is an autosomal dominant condition caused by a germline mutation in the adenomatous polyposis coli gene. Colonic adenomas form and almost all patients will develop colorectal cancer if they are not managed at an early stage. The safest preventive strategy is surgical resection of the colon, most commonly performed in late teenage years. There is a paucity of trials investigating the use of primary chemoprevention to delay polyp formation in paediatric FAP. There are extensive preclinical and early clinical data demonstrating that curcumin may be a safe and effective chemotherapeutic agent in reducing the polyp burden in this disease. We ultimately proposed to design and conduct a clinical study to assess whether curcumin treatment delays the need for surgery and/or prevents cancer in young patients with FAP. Research into clinical trial protocols has demonstrated that assessing patients’ perceptions at the initial stage leads to better outcomes. We therefore conducted a questionnaire study of patients and parents of children affected by FAP to gain information to aid the protocol design. Results demonstrated that there are some FAP patients for whom this study is relevant and desirable. Those with a personal history of curcumin use reported that it was well tolerated. However, the response rate was poor (25%), indicating that there are potential difficulties ensuring adequate recruitment to the proposed trial. This report draws on lessons learnt from prior trials and the findings from the questionnaire to outline the challenges faced in designing such a study.