Although the Internet may help to increase cancer patients' awareness of clinical trials, little is known about the accessibility and quality of online clinical trial information. We simulated the experience of a naïve cancer patient without clinical trial knowledge by searching three popular search engines for treatment information for breast, lung, and prostate cancer, and myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). Two coders independently evaluated website content for accessibility and quality. We screened 120 websites and identified 40 unique sites for analysis. Overall, 85% [95% confidence interval (CI), 70%–94%] of sites mentioned clinical trials on the landing page and 68% (51%–81%) included links to specific trials. Overall readability was poor. Approximately half of websites (36%–68%) included information on the potential benefits and risks of clinical trials and 40% provided information about when the site had been updated (25%–57%). Among sites with links to specific clinical trials, only 44% (25%–65%) provided an interactive interface that would allow patients to customize search results; breast (100%) and prostate (50%) sites were more interactive than lung (25%) and MDS (14%; P = 0.007). Although cancer clinical trial information is widely available on the Internet, its quality is highly variable. Given the fact that many emerging cancer therapeutics are personalized based on disease or genomic characteristics, interactive web-based interfaces could serve as powerful vehicles to help patients locate appropriate clinical trials. Without enhanced efforts to ensure greater interactivity of cancer treatment websites, patient awareness of relevant clinical trials may remain low. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev; 24(10); 1–3. ©2015 AACR.
- Received April 1, 2015.
- Revision received June 26, 2015.
- Accepted July 14, 2015.
- ©2015 American Association for Cancer Research.