Data age in clinical trials is about three years at publication

(HealthDay)—The median data age in clinical trials in journals with a high impact factor is about three years at publication, according to a study published in the Aug. 10 issue of JAMA Network Open.

John Welsh, from Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional analysis of randomized clinical trials to characterize the age of clinical trial data at the time of publication in journals with a high impact factor. Data were included for 341 clinical trials published in 2015 in six journals.

The researchers found that the median data age at publication was 33.9 months; the median data age was 30.6 months among the 10.9 percent of trials with a follow-up period of one month or less. Overall, 19.9 percent of trials required more than four years to complete enrollment. From completion of data collection to publication there was a median of 14.8 months; in 18.5 percent of trials, publication time was two years or more. Inconclusive or unfavorable trial results were correlated significantly with older data age (>235 days) in multivariable analyses with adjustment for follow-up time. Trials funded by government were associated with a significantly longer time to publication (>180 days) compared with trials funded only by private industry.

“There are seemingly many opportunities for improvement in the clinical trial process and in the work of trialists with journal editors,” the authors write.

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