Perspectives| Volume 3, ISSUE 3, P291-293, July 2012

A call for observational cohort studies in geriatric oncology


      In November of 2011, an international group of leaders met to discuss how to improve evidence in geriatric oncology at the meeting of the International Society of Geriatric Oncology (SIOG) held in Paris, France. A recommendation from the conference participants was to develop and implement observational cohort studies to increase evidence on the efficacy and safety of cancer treatment in older adults. An observational cohort study is a study that prospectively follows a group of individuals who have specific features in common over a defined period of time. Rigorous observational cohort studies can complement randomized controlled trial (RCT) data with information on efficacy, safety, and patient compliance with cancer treatment in a population of “real-world” patients. Well-designed observational cohort studies could be extremely valuable for gathering evidence on the efficacy and safety of cancer treatments, including those that are already available, in older adults in a more cost-effective and timely way than RCTs. Funding mechanisms through the National Institutes on Health, foundations, and European funding agencies devoted specifically to developing high impact observational cohort studies in geriatric oncology would help to provide evidence for a significant proportion of older patients over a short period of time.


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