Multidisciplinary quality assurance and control in oncological trials

de Balincourt C, Lacombe D, Coens C, den Dulk M, Machiels JP, Weber D, Spahn M, Salgado R, Kasper B, Hau P, Licitra L, Betsou F, Kataoka K, Caballero C, Liu Y, Hurkmans C, Evrard S

Eur J Cancer. 2017 Sep 29;86:91-100. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2017.07.039. [Epub ahead of print]


Perspectives from European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC)

Abstract

Quality assurance (QA) programmes are one of the mainstays of clinical research and constitute the pillars on which European Organisation for Research Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) delivers multidisciplinary therapeutic progress. Changing practice treatments require solid evidence-based data, which can only be achieved if integral QA is part of the infrastructure sustaining research projects. Cancer treatment is a multimodality approach, which is often applied either in sequence and/or in combination. Each modality plays a key role in cancer control. The modalities by which QA is applied varies substantially within and across the disciplines. In addition, translational and diagnostic disciplines take an increasing role in the era of precision medicine. Building on the structuring effect of clinical research with fully integrated multidisciplinary QA programmes associated with the solutions addressing the chain of custody for biological material and data integrity as well as compliance ensure at the same time validity of clinical research output but also have a training effect on health care providers, who are more likely to apply such principles as routine. The principles of QA are therefore critical to be embedded in multidisciplinary infrastructure to guarantee therapeutic progress. These principles also provide the basis for the functioning of multidisciplinary tumour board. However, technical, operational and economic challenges which go with the implementation of such programmes require optimal know-how and the coordination of the multiple expertise and such efforts are best achieved through centralised infrastructure.

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