Investment in trials not reflective of biggest killers

A REVIEW of cancer clinical trials in Australia reveals a mismatch between the type of cancer causing the greatest health burden and the targets of most investment in new treatments.

The study identified 368 clinical trials from two registers, the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry and, in which patient recruitment was under way in March 2009.

Breast cancer was the single most-researched disease, accounting for 62 trials, followed by lymphoma and leukaemia, researchers found.

But breast cancer was ranked third for disease burden at 60,652 disability adjusted life years (DALYs), behind lung cancer (88,904) and colorectal cancer (63,605) at 24 and 21 trials respectively.

“Cancers causing the greatest burden of disease in Australia are underrepresented in recruiting trials, revealing gaps in current research activity,” the authors wrote in the Medical Journal of Australia.

Drug treatments