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M.M. Schapira

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    ORAL 12 - Quality of Life and Trials (ID 96)

    • Event: WCLC 2015
    • Type: Oral Session
    • Track: Advocacy
    • Presentations: 1
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      ORAL12.07 - Twitter: Is There an Opportunity to Improve Participation in Lung Cancer Clinical Trials? (ID 2467)

      10:45 - 12:15  |  Author(s): M.M. Schapira

      • Abstract
      • Presentation
      • Slides

      Twitter is a social media platform that may improve clinical trial awareness and enrollment. Little is known about current communication on Twitter regarding clinical trials.

      We searched the keyword “lung cancer” in Twitter messages from January 5 - 21, 2015. Duplicate and non-English tweets were excluded. Randomly selected tweets were independently evaluated for content and user type by two coders (kappa=0.71). An exploratory analysis was conducted on tweets regarding lung cancer clinical trials. Differences in user type by content were evaluated by Pearson’s chi square test.

      We found 26,059 tweets with the keyword “lung cancer” from 10,039 unique users with 72,239,356 followers, including 15,346 unique tweets. We randomly selected 1,516 (10%) as the study cohort. Table 1 summarizes tweet categories and Table 2 shows tweet content by user type. Most of the dialogues focused on support and prevention. 221 (15%) of tweets were about clinical trials. 92 (42%) were from individuals, such as patients, health advocates, health providers and non-health users (p-value < 0.001). Of clinical trial tweets, 183 (83%) concerned therapeutic trials, 28 (13%) non-therapeutic, and 10 (4.5%) basic research. 144 (65%) of the therapeutic clinical trial tweets concerned immunotherapy. Most of the 183 therapeutic clinical trial tweets, 158 (86%), had embedded-links directing users to news articles. Only 1 tweet linked to a recruitment website with patient enrollment information.

      Table 1. Lung cancer tweets by content type
      Tweet categories Frequency, N (%)
      Support 358 (24)
      Prevention 357 (24)
      Miscellaneous (non-health related) 256 (17)
      Clinical Trials 221 (15)
      Treatment 86 (6)
      Diagnosis 78 (5)
      General Information 69 (4)
      Screening 53 (3)
      Symptoms 38 (2)
      Table 2. Lung cancer tweets by user type
      Tweet categories Individual Organization News Media
      Support 258 28 42
      Prevention 210 50 74
      Miscellaneous 221 6 11
      Clinical Trials 92 48 71
      Treatment 48 13 17
      Diagnosis 35 15 26
      General Information 23 33 8
      Screening 19 23 9
      Symptoms 26 1 7

      A significant proportion (15%) of lung cancer tweets concern clinical trials and are from individuals. Most of these tweets focus on immunotherapy. Our data suggest that Twitter represents a contemporary medium that could connect patients and other interested individuals with information about clinical trials, including links on screening and enrollment. The ubiquity of current social media use and our findings suggest that tailored messages about clinical trials on Twitter could have utility, improve awareness, trial referral and perhaps enrollment.

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