The sequential outcome was evaluated for all childhood cancers in which the Pediatric Oncology Group has conducted a series of clinical trials, with constant eligibility, on patients with newly diagnosed cancer. The analysis was applied to more than 7000 patients with cancer diagnosed between 1976 and 1989. These include acute leukemia (4 subgroups), non-Hodgkins lymphoma (4 subgroups), osteogenic sarcoma, and advanced neuroblastoma. In 8 of these 10 disease areas, significant improvement in outcome has occurred. In rare diseases such as pediatric cancer, collaborative studies may be the only way to conduct therapeutic trials of sufficient statistical power. A cooperative group has distinct advantages over a series of ad hoc collaborative studies in that it can maintain a unified data base, study its history with minimal confounding effects of changing institutional participants, and develop long-term research relationships among its participants.

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