Disclosure of the Right of Research Participants to Receive Research Results: An Analysis of Consent Forms in the Children's Oncology Group
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BACKGROUND: The offer of return of research results to study participants has many potential benefits. The current study examined the offer of return of research results by analyzing consent forms from 2 acute lymphoblastic leukemia studies of the 235 institutional members of the Children's Oncology Group.
METHODS: Institutional review board (IRB)-approved consent forms from 2 standard-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia studies (Children's Cancer Group [CCG] 1991 and Pediatric Oncology Group [POG] 9407) were analyzed independently by 2 reviewers.
RESULTS: The authors received replies from 202 of the 235 institutions that were contacted (85%). One hundred eighty-one institutions had CCG 1991 (n = 96) or POG 9905 (n = 85) protocols that were approved by an IRB. Most institutions provided contact information for the principal investigator (n = 175; 97%) and a member of the institution's research services office (n = 154; 85%). Only 5 (2.8%) institutions provided an indication of a participant's right to receive a summary of research results; most of these institutions provided details on how (n = 5) or when (n = 5) this was to occur. All of these institutions (n = 162; 89.5%) provided a specific statement offering new information that might affect a participant's decision to continue to participate in a study. Only 2 institutional consent forms offered participants the option to receive research results, and only 10 (5.5%) consent forms contained an unambiguous, specific statement offering to provide new information after the study was closed.
CONCLUSIONS: Few institutional review board-approved consent forms explicitly indicate the right of research recipients to receive a summary of the results of the research in which they have participated.