Research Article

Trials and tribulations: thoughts on the organisation of multicentre clinical studies.

Br Med J 1980; 281 doi: (Published 04 October 1980) Cite this as: Br Med J 1980;281:918


The Cancer Research Campaign Trial concerning the management of early breast cancer recruited well over 2000 patients, thus making it the largest prospective study of the management of cancer on record. The management of such large numbers created specific problems of organisation. It is recommended that the protocol design and proforma should be kept simple. A centralized secretariat should be set up, and statisticians and computer programmers must be concerned at every step, including design and analysis. Large clinical trials are very expensive and should not be embarked on without adequate long-term finance.