Can the referring surgeon enhance accrual of breast cancer patients to medical and radiation oncology trials? The ENHANCE study

Posted: Sep 01, 2016
Current Oncology. 23. 3. e276-e279.
KEYWORDS: Knowledge/Attitudes/Beliefs, Level of Clinical Trials Knowledge or Awareness, Provider-Patient Relationship, Provider Influence, Verbal Communications, Brochure or Flyer, Cancer, Treatment


ENHANCE, a pro-active patient education intervention conducted with newly diagnosed breast cancer patients by their referring surgeon, increased clinical trial participation from 7% to 15% in this expoloratory pilot study. 

Why this item may be useful

The researchers discovered that the surgeon plays a powerful role in whether or not a cancer patient will agree to be a subject in a clinical trial. Interestingly, even when many patients were given information several times about a clinical trial, a significant percentage of them later believed that they had not received information on these trials. Miscommunication with the surgeon was cited as a common reason for this confusion. The study suggests methods to improve a clinic's efficiency at introducing and explaining clinical trials to the patients in an appealing way. One example is having trained nurses that will explain the trials to the patients before they meet with the physicians. 


  • 26 out of the 34 patients (77%) responded to the patient survey
  • 81% of patients felt as though it was appropriate that the information given for ENHANCE at the surgical appointment as opposed to during their oncologist visit
  • 73% remembered being informed about clinical trials by their oncologist, or were recorded as having been informed
  • Overall clinical trial enrollment among the 34 participants was 15% which is greater than the institution's historical average of 7%