Pediatric Oncology Clinical Trials and Collaborative Research in Africa: Current Landscape and Future Perspectives

Jaques van Heerden*, Mohamed Zaghloul, Anouk Neven, Teresa de Rojas, Jennifer Geel, Catherine Patte, Joyce Balagadde-Kambugu, Peter Hesseling, Francine Tchintseme, Eric Bouffet, Laila Hessissen, Julia Challinor, SIOP Africa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


PURPOSE Adequate clinical services have yet to be established in the majority of African countries, where childhood cancer survival rates vary from 8.1% to 30.3%. The aim of this review is to describe the landscape of pediatric oncology trials in Africa, identify challenges, and offer future opportunities for research collaborations. METHODS The study includes data from the International Pediatric Oncology Society (SIOP) global mapping survey, meta-research identifying trials in Africa in, and a literature overview of publications on the subject of pediatric oncology clinical research supported by expert opinions on the current situation and challenges. RESULTS The SIOP global mapping survey received responses from 47 of 54 African countries, of which 23 have active clinical research programs. A preliminary search of showed that only 105 (12.1%) of 868 African oncology studies included children and adolescents. Of these, 53 (50.5%) were interventional trials according to the registry’s classification. The small number of African trials for children and adolescents included palliative care and leukemia trials. In African oncology journals and international pediatric oncology journals,, 1% of the pediatric oncology publications come from Africa. Services and research were strengthened by international collaboration. National studies focused on clinical needs, local challenges, or interventional priorities. Both the literature review and the expert opinions highlight the need to expand clinical research in Africa, despite ongoing regional instability and lack of resources. CONCLUSION While a low number of pediatric clinical treatment trials are open to African children and adolescents, clinical research of high quality is being done in Africa. Several initiatives are stimulating the development of the research capacity across the continent, which should increase the publication output.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1264-1275
Number of pages12
JournalJCO Global Oncology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


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