A need to simplify informed consent documents in cancer clinical trials. A position paper of the ARCAD Group

H. Bleiberg, G. Decoster, A. de Gramont, P. Rougier, A. Sobrero, A. Benson, B. Chibaudel, J. Y. Douillard, C. Eng, C. Fuchs, M. Fujii, R. Labianca, A. K. Larsen, E. Mitchell, H. J. Schmoll, D. Sprumont, J. Zalcberg

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Background: In respect of the principle of autonomy and the right of self-determination, obtaining an informed consent of potential participants before their inclusion in a study is a fundamental ethical obligation. The variations in national laws, regulations, and cultures contribute to complex informed consent documents for patients participating in clinical trials. Currently, only few ethics committees seem willing to address the complexity and the length of these documents and to request investigators and sponsors to revise them in a way to make them understandable for potential participants. The purpose of this work is to focus on the written information in the informed consent documentation for drug development clinical trials and suggests (i) to distinguish between necessary and not essential information, (ii) to define the optimal format allowing the best legibility of those documents.

Methods: The Aide et Recherche en Cancérologie Digestive (ARCAD) Group, an international scientific committee involving oncologists from all over the world, addressed these issues and developed and uniformly accepted a simplified informed consent documentation for future clinical research.

Results: A simplified form of informed consent with the leading part of 1200-1800 words containing all of the key information necessary to meet ethical and regulatory requirements and 'relevant supportive information appendix' of 2000-3000 words is provided.

Conclusions: This position paper, on the basis of the ARCAD Group experts discussions, proposes our informed consent model and the rationale for its content.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)922-930
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017


  • clinical trial
  • ethics
  • good clinical practice
  • inform consent
  • Institution Review Board
  • oncology

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