Recruitment challenges in clinical research including cancer patients and caregiversReport as inadecuate

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, 16:428

First Online: 25 September 2015Received: 26 February 2015Accepted: 08 September 2015DOI: 10.1186-s13063-015-0948-y

Cite this article as: Sygna, K., Johansen, S. & Ruland, C.M. Trials 2015 16: 428. doi:10.1186-s13063-015-0948-y


BackgroundTo test seven different strategies for recruitment in a randomized controlled trial, to report documented response data from each strategy, and to discuss recruitment challenges.

MethodsWe used 5 opt-in potential participants have to do something active to contact or be contacted by the researcher and 2 opt-out potential participants have the option to decline being contacted about a study recruitment strategies from February 2013 until July 2014 to contact 1562 cancer patient candidates for participation in a randomized controlled trial. For each of these cancer patients a caregiver was also invited to take part in the study.

ResultsOf the 1562 candidates, 22.6 % were ineligible on initial contact, 56.7 % declined to participate on initial contact, and 8.9 % agreed orally to participate but did not complete the enrollment. The 2 opt-out strategies, on-site recruitment and routine care letters recruitment, yielded the highest number of recruited participants with 79 dyads and 58 dyads respectively, constituting 42.7 % and 31.4 % of the total number of enrolled candidates. The 5 opt-in recruitment approaches yielded 49 dyads for the study. Almost half of these dyads were recruited using the approach termed -relying on providers at the hospital.-

ConclusionsIn this study, opt-out recruitment strategies appeared to be the most effective.

Trial registrationRegistration number NCT01867723, registered February 2012.

KeywordsRecruitment Recruitment challenges Cancer patients Caregivers Clinical research Intervention study Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-s13063-015-0948-y contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

An erratum to this article can be found at

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Author: Karin Sygna - Safora Johansen - Cornelia M. Ruland


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