Now is the time to adopt patient centric strategies to focus more on patient needs and increase efficiencies

Sponsors typically evaluate cancer therapies on their ability to shrink a tumour or extend life, using progression-free survival or overall survival as an endpoint. Yet, patients with cancer may differ in their focus and may have more concerns about their quality of life with disease symptoms and treatment-related side effects. Adopting patient centric strategies into oncology clinical trials therefore have the potential to significantly impact positively patient recruitment and retention.

Some strategies to make oncology trials more patient centric include developing materials and tools to help sites enhance patient awareness of trials, creating better consent and education materials, and bringing the patient voice in at the beginning of protocol design.

Rather than make asssumptions about what patients need, it is adviseable to ask patients, and the earlier the better from a cost efficiency standpoint. This means introducing best practices for connecting with cancer patients and using their input to reduce the burden on them through better protocol design, use of social media and concierge support.

Connecting with patient advocacy organisations at the pre-protocol design stage can provide sponsors with an understanding of patients' experiences in past trials and enable incorporation of this feedback as the protocol is being written, instead of making amendments afterward when they are far costlier and more time-consuming.

By incorporating these changes into an oncology trial, sponsors can decrease the burden on patients and increase participation.

ICON's patient recruitment solutions team often leverages Site Engagement Liaisons, dedicated PhD and PharmD level recruitment experts, to work with sites and health institutions to develop customised recruitment and study awareness plans, including site-specific patient pathway mapping and identification of key patient access points to increase recruitment. For more information on how ICON is adapting a more patient centric approach in oncology clinical trials, please contact us.


This article is an edited version of "Moving beyond a buzzword: How small to mid-sized biotechs can adopt patient centricity in oncology trials" which appeared on 12 July 2019 in BioCentry. The view the full article, please visit

Oncology insights

ICON's Oncology experts provide analysis including whitepapers, blogs and contributions to media and industry conversations relating to all aspects of oncology in clinical trials.

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