Acceptability of chemoprevention trials in high-risk subjects

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The development and current widespread acceptance of clinical trials is one of the major conceptual advances in research medicine introduced during the second half of the 20th century. Despite general agreement on the scientific merits of randomization, many patients and physicians are however reluctant to participate in randomized, controlled trials. If we focus on chemoprevention in healthy subjects, it is even more essential to evaluate the ethics, logistics, patient's and doctor's acceptability, acute and late toxic effect, patient accrual and compliance of treatment. Furthermore, the decision-making process about participating in a cancer chemoprevention trial is often poorly understood. Adherence to a cancer prevention trial requires in fact a strong sense of awareness and an ability to carefully assess risks and benefits. We review the main aspects in the chemo-preventive approach to patients at high risk for breast and ovarian cancer, focusing on different pharmacological risk reduction strategies, ongoing phase III chemoprevention studies in carriers of BRCA1/2 germline mutation, the psychological and clinical factors implicated in decision making about a trial, and the possible impact of the trial design on the overall acceptability and adherence.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbermdt328
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Issue numberSUPPL.B
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • BRCA mutations
  • Chemoprevention
  • Clinical trials
  • Ethics
  • Patient adherence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Hematology


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