Use of 'sham' radiotherapy in randomized clinical trials

Schwarz, F. and Christie, D. (2008) Use of 'sham' radiotherapy in randomized clinical trials. Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Oncology, 52 3: 269-277. doi:10.1111/j.1440-1673.2008.01936.x

Author Schwarz, F.
Christie, D.
Title Use of 'sham' radiotherapy in randomized clinical trials
Journal name Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Oncology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1754-9477
Publication date 2008
Year available 2008
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1440-1673.2008.01936.x
Open Access Status
Volume 52
Issue 3
Start page 269
End page 277
Total pages 9
Place of publication Richmond, VIC Australia
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia
Collection year 2009
Language eng
Subject 2741 Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
2730 Oncology
Abstract The objective of this systematic review was to identify quality trials that use sham radiotherapy in their design and review them to determine its potential value. The Cochrane Library, Pubmed and a Reference Search served as data sources. Trials were included if they met a minimum quality score of 3 on a validated assessment instrument (which assesses randomization, control and blinding) and if they compared sham radiotherapy to active treatment. External beam therapy and brachytherapy trials were considered. Twenty-six trials were identified, collectively including 2663 participants in the period of 1970-2004. All the trials studied the value of radiotherapy for treatment or prevention of benign diseases, including multiple sclerosis, coronary artery restenosis, age-related macular degeneration and Graves' ophthalmopathy. There were no trials relating to the use of radiotherapy in the treatment of malignancy. This review showed that it is possible to carry out sham radiotherapy with due regard for ethical concerns, with effective blinding and high levels of patient acceptance. Large sample sizes with multicentre trial designs were achievable. Although the statistical philosophy for using sham radiotherapy in trials is legitimate, it is no longer routinely used.
Keyword Irradiation
Plantar fasciitis
Randomized controlled trial
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Medicine Publications
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