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Rationale and design of repeated cross-sectional studies to evaluate the reporting quality of trial protocols: the Adherence to SPIrit REcommendations (ASPIRE) study and associated projects


Abstract

BACKGROUND

Clearly structured and comprehensive protocols are an essential component to ensure safety of participants, data validity, successful conduct, and credibility of results of randomized clinical trials (RCTs). Funding agencies, research ethics committees (RECs), regulatory agencies, medical journals, systematic reviewers, and other stakeholders rely on protocols to appraise the conduct and reporting of RCTs. In response to evidence of poor protocol quality, the Standard Protocol Items: Recommendations for Interventional Trials (SPIRIT) guideline was published in 2013 to improve the accuracy and completeness of clinical trial protocols. The impact of these recommendations on protocol completeness and associations between protocol completeness and successful RCT conduct and publication remain uncertain.

OBJECTIVES AND METHODS

Aims of the Adherence to SPIrit REcommendations (ASPIRE) study are to investigate adherence to SPIRIT checklist items of RCT protocols approved by RECs in the UK, Switzerland, Germany, and Canada before (2012) and after (2016) the publication of the SPIRIT guidelines; determine protocol features associated with non-adherence to SPIRIT checklist items; and assess potential differences in adherence across countries. We assembled an international cohort of RCTs based on 450 protocols approved in 2012 and 402 protocols approved in 2016 by RECs in Switzerland, the UK, Germany, and Canada. We will extract data on RCT characteristics and adherence to SPIRIT for all included protocols. We will use multivariable regression models to investigate temporal changes in SPIRIT adherence, differences across countries, and associations between SPIRIT adherence of protocols with RCT registration, completion, and publication of results. We plan substudies to examine the registration, premature discontinuation, and non-publication of RCTs; the use of patient-reported outcomes in RCT protocols; SPIRIT adherence of RCT protocols with non-regulated interventions; the planning of RCT subgroup analyses; and the use of routinely collected data for RCTs.

DISCUSSION

The ASPIRE study and associated substudies will provide important information on the impact of measures to improve the reporting of RCT protocols and on multiple aspects of RCT design, trial registration, premature discontinuation, and non-publication of RCTs observing potential changes over time.

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Clearly structured and comprehensive protocols are an essential component to ensure safety of participants, data validity, successful conduct, and credibility of results of randomized clinical trials (RCTs). Funding agencies, research ethics committees (RECs), regulatory agencies, medical journals, systematic reviewers, and other stakeholders rely on protocols to appraise the conduct and reporting of RCTs. In response to evidence of poor protocol quality, the Standard Protocol Items: Recommendations for Interventional Trials (SPIRIT) guideline was published in 2013 to improve the accuracy and completeness of clinical trial protocols. The impact of these recommendations on protocol completeness and associations between protocol completeness and successful RCT conduct and publication remain uncertain.

OBJECTIVES AND METHODS

Aims of the Adherence to SPIrit REcommendations (ASPIRE) study are to investigate adherence to SPIRIT checklist items of RCT protocols approved by RECs in the UK, Switzerland, Germany, and Canada before (2012) and after (2016) the publication of the SPIRIT guidelines; determine protocol features associated with non-adherence to SPIRIT checklist items; and assess potential differences in adherence across countries. We assembled an international cohort of RCTs based on 450 protocols approved in 2012 and 402 protocols approved in 2016 by RECs in Switzerland, the UK, Germany, and Canada. We will extract data on RCT characteristics and adherence to SPIRIT for all included protocols. We will use multivariable regression models to investigate temporal changes in SPIRIT adherence, differences across countries, and associations between SPIRIT adherence of protocols with RCT registration, completion, and publication of results. We plan substudies to examine the registration, premature discontinuation, and non-publication of RCTs; the use of patient-reported outcomes in RCT protocols; SPIRIT adherence of RCT protocols with non-regulated interventions; the planning of RCT subgroup analyses; and the use of routinely collected data for RCTs.

DISCUSSION

The ASPIRE study and associated substudies will provide important information on the impact of measures to improve the reporting of RCT protocols and on multiple aspects of RCT design, trial registration, premature discontinuation, and non-publication of RCTs observing potential changes over time.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute (EBPI)
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Medicine (miscellaneous)
Health Sciences > Pharmacology (medical)
Language:English
Date:28 October 2020
Deposited On:13 Jan 2021 12:14
Last Modified:01 Feb 2021 16:23
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:1745-6215
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1186/s13063-020-04808-y
PubMed ID:33115541

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