Assessing genitourinary cancer clinical trial accrual sufficiency using archived trial data

Kristian Stensland, Samuel Kaffenberger, David Canes, Matthew Galsky, Ted Skolarus, Alireza Moinzadeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


PURPOSE Clinical trials often fail to reach their anticipated end points, most frequently because of poor accrual. Prior studies have analyzed trial termination, but it has not been easy to assess accrual estimates using international databases such as because of limitations in accessing accrual information. Specifically, it is not easy to extract both anticipated and actual accrual of clinical trials. We designed a new algorithmic approach to extracting trial accrual data from and used it to estimate the sufficiency of patient accrual onto genitourinary (GU) cancer trials. METHODS We queried for completed/terminated phase II and III clinical trials for prostate, bladder, kidney, testicular, and ureteral cancers registered after 2007. We extracted trial characteristics from available XML files. We then used a Python algorithm to access prior trial registrations on the archive site and extract both anticipated and actual accrual numbers. We then compared the actual accrual of each trial to its anticipated accrual and defined sufficient accrual as 85% of anticipated accrual. RESULTS The algorithm was 100% accurate compared with hand extraction in a small validation subset. A total of 925 trials were included, of which 840 (91%) had both anticipated and actual accrual. Only 418 (50%) trials had sufficient accrual (≥ 85% of anticipated). Considering only trials marked as successfully completed, 395/597 (66%) reached sufficient accrual. CONCLUSION GU cancer trials often do not meet their anticipated accrual goals. New approaches to trial conduct are direly needed. Our reproducible and scalable approach to extracting accrual information can be applied to analysis of in future analyses in the hope of improving the efficiency of the clinical trials enterprise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)614-622
Number of pages9
JournalJCO clinical cancer informatics
StatePublished - 2020


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