Twitter May Serve as Recruitment Tool for Cancer Clinical Trials

Twitter can increase awareness and patient recruitment for clinical trials of cancer drugs.

A study in JAMA Oncology explored whether Twitter could increase awareness and patient recruitment for cancer clinical trials.

For 2 weeks, researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine gathered 15,346 tweets that contained the words lung cancer. Out of those tweets, 1516 were used in a pilot study to analyze the contents.

The results of the study showed that 83% contained content specific to lung cancer, with most of these tweets written by individuals who focus on support or prevention.

Approximately 17.5%, or 221 tweets, were related to clinical trials, while only 1 tweet was linked to a patient recruitment site.

“Social media could become a very useful tool for clinical researchers but may also pose some challenges with respect to both non-coercive content and the assurance of privacy, both of which the IRBs (institutional review boards) will need to consider carefully,” the authors wrote. “Future efforts are needed to explore whether Twitter can emerge as a viable medium for promoting accrual to clinical trials.”