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Physician and Nurse Beliefs of Phase 1 Trials in Pediatric Oncology

Barnes, Margaux J. MA; Pressey, Joseph MD; Adams, Julia BSN, RN, CPON; Hensler, Molly A. MA; Madan-Swain, Avi PhD

doi: 10.1097/NCC.0000000000000099
Articles: Online Only

Background: In order to improve the survival of children with cancer, novel therapies must be identified. Promising agents are tested in phase 1 trials in order to identify appropriate dosing and describe toxicity in children. The identification and referral of candidate patients for phase 1 trials rely heavily on medical providers who must balance their own perceptions of phase 1 trials with the desires and willingness of the patient and his/her family.

Objective: The goal of the present study was to evaluate and compare physician and nurse perceptions regarding the beliefs, expectations, and perceived benefits of phase 1 clinical trials.

Methods: A survey consisting of 21 questions was sent to 419 physicians and nurses practicing pediatric oncology at 30 different institutions. With the exception of 10 demographic questions, items were either rank ordered or rated on 5-point Likert scales.

Results: Ninety-four physicians and 122 nurses completed the online survey. Physicians and nurses differed in their knowledge of the goals and medical effects of phase 1 clinical trials.

Conclusions: Physicians and nurses hold positive beliefs regarding phase 1 clinical trials and support their role in the treatment of children with cancer. Education is necessary to increase nurses’ knowledge of the goals and outcomes.

Implications for Practice: These findings suggest that continued education of nurses as well as physicians about the goals, execution, and monitoring of phase 1 therapy would be worthwhile.

Author Affiliations: Departments of Psychology (Mss Barnes and Hensler) and Pediatrics (Drs Pressey and Madan-Swain and Mrs Adams), University of Alabama at Birmingham.

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal’s Web site (

Correspondence: Margaux J. Barnes, MA, Department of Psychology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 1600 7th Ave S, ACC 512, Birmingham, AL 35233 (

Accepted for publication August 13, 2013.

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins