publication date: Sep. 11, 2020

NCI will form an ad hoc committee to review screening trials

The future of ECOG-ACRIN’s slowly-accruing TMIST is in question

By Paul Goldberg

NCI’s cancer screening trials may be falling victim to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week, the institute asked the National Cancer Advisory Board to form an ad hoc group that would provide guidance on screening trials, starting with the Tomosynthesis Mammographic Imaging Screening Trial, TMIST for short (The Cancer Letter, Sept. 4, 2020).

TMIST aims to enroll 165,000 women, randomizing them to 2D or 3D mammography, to determine whether more sensitive and more expensive 3D technology is associated with better outcomes.

The trial, which is constructing a tissue bank, is estimated to end up costing $94 million, which makes it the largest and most expensive trial in NCI’s portfolio.

Alas, enrollment in TMIST has been slow, reaching 30,000 at a time in 2020 when, according to initial, optimistic plans, the trial’s enrollment should have been completed. When COVID hit, mammographic screening in the U.S. halted, and enrollment in TMIST dropped to below 100 in April.

However, the enrollment numbers have been climbing in recent months.

“We are concerned about the recruitment to clinical trials during this global pandemic, and especially the large breast cancer screen trial known as TMIST, where accrual was already below target and has further slowed during the pandemic,” Philip E. Castle, the new director of the NCI Division of Cancer Prevention, said to NCAB on Sept. 2. “As stewards of research funding, we want to be transparent and seek counsel from our advisors.”

NCI has … Continue reading NCI will form an ad hoc committee to review screening trials

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