The challenge of equipoise: qualitative interviews exploring the views of health professionals and women with multiple ipsilateral breast cancer on recruitment to a surgical randomised controlled feasibility trial

Ingram, Jenny, Beasant, Lucy, Benson, John R., Brunt, Adrian M., Maxwell, Anthony, Harvey, James R., Greenwood, Rosemary, Roberts, Nicholas, Williams, Norman, Johnson, Debbie and Winters, Zoe E. (2022) The challenge of equipoise: qualitative interviews exploring the views of health professionals and women with multiple ipsilateral breast cancer on recruitment to a surgical randomised controlled feasibility trial. Pilot and Feasibility Studies, 8 (1). p. 46. ISSN 2055-5784

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1186/s40814-022-01007-1

Abstract

Background- A multicentre feasibility trial (MIAMI), comparing outcomes and quality of life of women with multiple ipsilateral breast cancer randomised to therapeutic mammoplasty or mastectomy, was conducted from September 2018 to March 2020. The MIAMI surgical trial aimed to investigate recruitment of sufficient numbers of women. Multidisciplinary teams at 10 breast care centres in the UK identified 190 with MIBC diagnosis; 20 were eligible for trial participation but after being approached only four patients were recruited. A nested qualitative study sought to understand the reasons for this lack of recruitment. Methods- Interviews were conducted from November 2019 to September 2020 with 17 staff from eight hospital-based breast care centres that recruited and attempted to recruit to MIAMI; and seven patients from four centres, comprising all patients who were recruited to the trial and some who declined to take part. Interviews were audio-recorded, anonymised and analysed using thematic methods of building codes into themes and sub-themes using the process of constant comparison. Results- Overarching themes of (1) influences on equipoise and recruitment and (2) effects of a lack of equipoise were generated. Within these themes, health professional themes described the barriers to recruitment as ‘the treatment landscape has changed’, ‘staff preferences and beliefs’ which influenced equipoise and patient advice; and how different the treatments were for patients. Patient themes of ‘altruism and timing of trial approach’, ‘influences from consultants and others’ and ‘diagnostic journey doubts’ all played a part in whether patients agreed to take part in the trial. Conclusions- Barriers to recruiting to breast cancer surgical trials can be significant, especially where there are substantial differences between the treatments being offered and a lack of equipoise communicated by healthcare professionals to patients. Patients can become overwhelmed by numerous requests for participation in research trials and inappropriate timing of trial discussions. Alternative study designs to the gold standard randomised control trial for surgical interventions may be required to provide the high-quality evidence on which to base practice.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Equipoise, Multiple ipsilateral breast cancer, Therapeutic mammoplasty, Mastectomy, Randomisation, Qualitative
Faculty: Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine & Social Care
Depositing User: Lisa Blanshard
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2022 16:54
Last Modified: 31 May 2022 16:18
URI: https://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/707406

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