Looking backwards to move forward: a review of randomized lung cancer treatment trials to inform future research

Author(s): Richard J Stephens

Lung cancer is the commonest cancer worldwide, with more than 1.6 million new cases annually, and the incidence continues to increase. However, progress in improving survival rates has been slow. To investigate whether the number and type of clinical trials might have had a role in this slow progress, a review of all randomized treatment trials was undertaken. A total of 1748 trials that quoted the sample size in the title or abstract was identified in the Cochrane Library Central Register. In summary, the review indicated that the number of trials published per year is increasing (although the median size of trials has remained at approximately 100 patients), the number of randomized Phase II trials has increased, and the majority of trials investigate nonsmall- cell lung cancer and chemotherapy. Global collaboration is required to run larger trials addressing some of the key unanswered questions