Ethical issues of clinical trials in paediatric oncology: A systematic review over 10 year developments

Auteurs : François Doz, Jean-Claude K. Dupont, Kathy Pritchard-Jones

Article publié dans : The Lancet Oncology, Volume 17, Issue 5, May 2016, Pages e187-e197

Date de parution : 2016


Abstract : A state-of-the art approach to the debates on ethical issues is key in order to gain guidance on research practices involving sick children and adolescents, as well as to identify research avenues in which it might be worth cooperating, to generate better or supplementary evidence. Based on a systematic literature search using MEDLINE, we report the main ethical developments in paediatric oncology clinical trials from 2003–13. The present knowledge about normative and empirical ethical demands in this setting is quantified and summarised in a list of 46 issues. This list primarily aims to provide readers with a comprehensive account of the main decision nodes and professional attitudes that enable families to make a safe, competent, and satisfactory decision about their child’s enrolment, or non-participation, in cancer clinical trials. Our systematic Review shows how important it is for professionals to engage in a constant reflection on optimum trial designs, on the effect of offering trial participation on key family dynamics, and on the ways to understand families’ needs and values accurately. In view of present scientific developments, we further emphasise the need to enhance societal awareness about research in children and adolescents, to prevent so-called research fatigue in small populations due to multiple solicitations or inadequate legal demands, and to reassess longstanding ethical certainties in the strictest view of promoting sick children’s interests. This systematic Review allows a series of questions to be drawn to guide and encourage collective and individual endeavours that should lead to constant improvements in our research practices in paediatric clinical oncology research.

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Publié le 27 mai 2016