Manuscript abstracts are an important source of information for healthcare professionals, who may use the information as a basis for treatment decisions. This is particularly the case when open access articles are not accessible. With this in mind, the EQUATOR network introduced the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) extension statement for abstracts in 2007, which provided a minimum list of elements that should be included in abstracts.
This week, the journal Trials published a study that evaluated the degree of adherence to these recommendations in 174 randomised, controlled, phase III trials in metastatic solid malignancies. According to this analysis (see Table below), the least frequently reported elements of the CONSORT extension were: trial design description (20%), participant allocation method (13%), blinding (24%), trial enrollment status (22%), registration and name of trial (26%) and funding source (18%). The most frequently reported elements were eligibility criteria (98%), study interventions (100%), and primary endpoint (8%).
The authors concluded: “There is poor adherence to the CONSORT recommendations for abstract reporting in publications of randomised cancer clinical trials which could negatively impact clinical decision-making.”.
Table: From Trials 2015, 16:341; http://www.trialsjournal.com/content/16/1/341