Struggling With Extensive Informed Consent Procedures for Cancer Trails – Is There Even a Benefit for the Patients?

Struggling With Extensive Informed Consent Procedures for Cancer Trails – Is There Even a Benefit for the Patients?
Tilch M, Moringlane A, Schranz M, Theobald M, Hess G
Research Square, 3 January 2022
Informed consent procedures in clinical trials often differ in length and complexity to those in clinical routine care. Little is known about the benefit of extensive procedures as intended in clinical trials compared to procedures in routine cancer treatment.
In two different clinical studies performed at a comprehensive cancer center, we compared patients’ comprehension and satisfaction of current informed consent procedures in routine clinical care with the level of comprehension and satisfaction of patients treated within clinical trials. Patients with a new cancer diagnosis and recent informed consent received a questionnaire about satisfaction, comprehension, time management and physician-patient relationship of the informed consent process. Patients in cohort 1 consented to cancer treatment within a clinical trial and were additionally interviewed in a structured way; patients in cohort 2 consented to “standard” chemotherapy and received a follow-up questionnaire after 6 months.
In cohort 1, 82 patients completed the questionnaire and had an additional structured interview. They were treated in 41 different trials, receiving up to 40 pages of educational material. In cohort 2, 89 patients completed the first and 52 completed the follow-up questionnaire after receiving a standard informed consent form of 6 pages. Subjective understanding and satisfaction with the information provided was equally very high. However, deficits in objective understanding were observed in both cohorts.
Extensive informed consent procedures for clinical cancer trials have not been associated with a higher level of satisfaction or measurable objective understanding, therefore the benefit seems to be limited.

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