Center News

Stellar study for breast-cancer prevention

Center's STAR researchers win award for outstanding participant recruitment, compliance and data submission in clinical trial

Aug. 19, 2004
Joelle Machia

Research nurse Joelle Machia, the local program coordinator for the STAR trial, said her team's recruitment success represents a major accomplishment.

Photo by Todd McNaught

Center researchers and local collaborators have garnered top honors for their contributions to the Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene (STAR) trial, one of largest-ever breast-cancer prevention studies.

Fred Hutchinson — which serves as the Northwest region's largest coordinating site for the study — and the six regional satellite institutions it oversees were awarded a STAR Stellar Award in recognition for their outstanding performance for participant recruitment, participant compliance, and timely and accurate data submission. The award was presented June 26 in Toronto at the annual meeting of the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project, the National Cancer Institut-sponsored clinical trials group that oversees the STAR study.

Successful recruitment

The STAR study, launched in 1999, is comparing whether raloxifene (Evista®) is as effective as tamoxifen (Nolvadex®) in reducing the incidence of breast cancer in women that are at increased risk for the disease. The study randomly assigns participants to take one of the two drugs for five years. Participants agree to undergo an additional two years of follow up. Follow-up visits take place at the center's new Prevention Clinic in the Public Health Sciences building.

In June, STAR reached its accrual goal of 19,000 women. Over the five-year recruitment period, Fred Hutchinson and local partners recruited 262 women, an achievement that ranks them as the eighth most successful site for participant recruitment of all 195 STAR sites.

This year, the Fred Hutchinson-led team ranked second for recruitment.

Joelle Machia, a research nurse in the Clinical Research Division and the local STAR program coordinator, said that given the long-term commitment required of the participants, her team's recruitment success — and that of all their STAR sites — represents a major accomplishment.

Participant commitment

"This study requires a lot of dedicated participants willing to take part in a seven-year study," she said. "Our success and achievements would have not been possible without our participant's commitment and dedication to this very important breast-cancer prevention trial."

Other Fred Hutchinson STAR study staff includes Dr. Richard Clarfeld, principal investigator, Heather Hughes, STAR recruitment coordinator, Nancy Knudsen, program administrator and Barbara Deppe, STAR program assistant.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center is a world leader in research to prevent, detect and treat cancer and other life-threatening diseases.