Advancements in clinical practice usually require level one evidence from clinical trials that directly compare new approaches to standard of care. While clinical trials have provided data to guide advances in practices across surgical oncology, all too often accrual to clinical trials is slower than anticipated, and once results are presented and published, adoption in clinical practice is slow. Why and how can surgeons be successfully involved with clinical trials? An expert panel discusses the basic infrastructure of clinical trials, investigator-initiated trials, the National Clinical Trials Network, and opportunities for surgeon involvement. Two national clinical trials, NSABP B-51/RTOG 1304 and PROSPECT N1048, are discussed to highlight the role of the surgical oncologist.
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