Sessa C, Cortes J, Conte P, Cardoso F, Choueiri T, Dummer R, Lorusso P, Ottmann O, Ryll B, Mok T, Tempero M, Comis S, Oliva C, Peters S, Tabernero J
ESMO Open 7 (1) 100339 [2021-11-23; online 2021-11-23]
The coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic promises to have lasting impacts on cancer clinical trials that could lead to faster patient access to new treatments. In this article, an international panel of oncology experts discusses the lasting impacts of the pandemic on oncology clinical trials and proposes solutions for clinical trial stakeholders, with the support of recent data on worldwide clinical trials collected by IQVIA. These lasting impacts and proposed solutions encompass three topic areas. Firstly, acceleration and implementation of new operational approaches to oncology trials with patient-centric, fully decentralized virtual approaches that include remote assessments via telemedicine and remote devices. Geographical differences in the uptake of remote technology, including telemedicine, are discussed in the article, focusing on the impact of the local adoption of new operational approaches. Secondly, innovative clinical trials. The pandemic has highlighted the need for new trial designs that accelerate research and limit risks and burden for patients while driving optimization of clinical trial objectives and endpoints, while testing is being minimized. Areas of considerations for clinical trial stakeholders are discussed in detail. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the underrepresentation of minority groups in clinical trials; the approach for oncology clinical trials to improve generalizability of efficacy and outcomes data is discussed. Thirdly, a new problem-focused collaborative framework between oncology trial stakeholders, including decision makers, to leverage and further accelerate the innovative approaches in clinical research developed during the COVID-19 pandemic. This could shorten timelines for patient access to new treatments by addressing the cultural and technological barriers to adopting new operational approaches and innovative clinical trials. The role of the different stakeholders is described, with the aim of making COVID-19 a catalyst for positive change in oncology clinical research and eventually in cancer care.