Current status and challenges of cancer clinical trials in Korea

Byoung Yong Shim, Se Hoon Park, Soonil Lee, Jin Soo Kim, Kyoung Eun Lee, Yoon Koo Kang, Myung Ju Ahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Purpose Cancer clinical trials in Korea have rapidly progressed in terms of quantity and quality during the last decade. This study evaluates the current status of cancer clinical trials in Korea and their associated problems. Materials and Methods We analyzed the clinical trials approved by the Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) between 2007 and 2013. A nationwide on-line survey containing 22 questions was also performed with several cooperative study groups and individual researchers in 56 academic hospitals. Results The number of cancer clinical trials approved by the KFDA increased almost twofold from 2007 to 2013. The number of sponsor-initiated clinical trials (SITs) increased by 50% and investigator-initiated clinical trials (IITs) increased by almost 640%. Three hundred and fortyfour clinical trials were approved by the KFDA between 2012 and 2013. At the time of the on-line survey (August 2013), 646 SITs and 519 IITs were ongoing in all hospitals. Six high volume hospitals were each conducting more than 50 clinical trials, including both SITs and IITs. Fifty-six investigators (31%) complained of the difficulties in raising funds to conduct clinical trials. Conclusion The number of cancer clinical trials in Korea rapidly increased from 2007 to 2013, as has the number of multicenter clinical trials and IITs run by cooperative study groups. Limited funding for IIT is a serious problem, and more financial support is needed both from government agencies and public donations from non-profit organizations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-27
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Research and Treatment
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016


  • Clinical trial
  • Investigator-initiated clinical trial
  • Sponsor-initiated clinical trial


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