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Title: Randomised controlled trials of interventions to prevent oral mucositis in patients undergoingtreatment for cancer
Author: Bryan, Gemma
ISNI:       0000 0004 2697 7725
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2011
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Introduction: Oral mucositis is an inflammatory and frequently ulcerative side effect of cancer therapy, which has been identified by patients as the most debilitating side effect of their treatment. Mucositis is a dose limiting toxicity which exerts a substantial clinical and economic impact and negatively affects patient quality of life. The patient experience of mucositis is under-reported in the literature. To date, no interventions have been identified that have proven successful in the prevention of mucositis for patients receiving all types of therapy. Vitamin E has shown conflicting results in clinical trials. This thesis combines appraisal of the literature and empirical research,and uses lessons learned from previous studies together with the results of a feasibility study to identify a best practice model for future trials. Methods: The Cochrane risk of bias (ROB) instrument was used to assess the ROB in the studies included in the Cochrane prevention review. A sensitivity analysis was conducted after studies assessed at unclear or high risk of overall bias were excluded. A systematic review of assessment instruments was conducted which identified 50 instruments. Consideration of the appropriateness of these instruments for the use in a clinical trial for the prevention of mucositis was based on the practicality, comparability, and reproducibility, and the impact of these instruments on patients. Three of these instruments were chosen for use in a clinical trial of adults undergoing stem cell transplant. Finally, a feasibility study was designed, developed and conducted which investigated vitamin E for the prevention of mucositis in patients undergoing conditioning for bone marrow transplantation. Through lessons learned from previous studies, consultations with medical professional, the MHRA, ethics committee and suppliers, a protocol was developed for a double blind RCT. The process of gaining MHRA and ethical approval, and the repackaging of intervention and placebo products to meet MA-IMP requirements are described. Results: 130 articles were assessed for risk of bias. Only ten studies were assessed as being at low overall risk of bias. Blinding of outcome assessors and adequate allocation concealment were identified to be important considerations in the planning of future studies. Although only nine patients were recruited into the feasibility study, a number of issues affecting the design and conduct of future trials were identified. Recruitment in particular was identified to be problematic. Strategies for overcoming this problem in future trials were discussed. The methods of blinding and allocation concealment employed were found to be feasible for use in future trials. Expected adverse events patients undergoing stem cell transplantation were also reported. Conclusion: Further studies are required to investigate interventions for the prevention of mucositis. It is of upmost importance that these trials are rigorous in both their methodology and subsequent reporting in order to elicit the maximum benefit for patients taking part in clinical trials, and future patients undergoing therapy for cancer.
Supervisor: Molassiotis, Alexander Sponsor: Medical Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Oral Mucositis ; Randomised Controlled Trial ; Systematic Review ; Oral Assessment ; Risk of Bias ; Feasibility Study ; Vitamin E