Predictors of inactivation and reasons for participant inactivation during a skin cancer chemoprevention study

B. Cartmel, T. E. Moon, N. Levine, S. Rodney, D. Alberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Maintaining good compliance is a major challenge in long-term cancer chemoprevention trials. Minimizing the number of inactive participants during a trial is an important factor in maximizing compliance. Identifying reasons for and predictors of inactivation is the first step in being able to reduce participant inactivation. In this skin cancer chemoprevention trial, the 2,297 participants were randomized to receive 25,000 IU of retinol daily or a placebo. Median follow-up time was 3.8 years. The reason for inactivation was determined for each participant who stopped taking the study capsules. Six hundred and seventy-seven (29.7%) participants became inactive during the 5-year study. There was no significant difference between the number of participants inactivating by treatment group or sex. The most common reasons for inactivation were illness of subject, spouse, or a close relative (18.6%) and experience of a clinical symptom consistent with vitamin A ingestion (17.1%). Participants in the vitamin A group (10.1%) more frequently cited symptoms coded as 'not consistent with vitamin A' as the reason for inactivation compared with those in the placebo group [5.4% (P < 0.05)]. The inactivation rate was highest in the first month of the trial and declined thereafter. A low education level (hazard ratio, 1.59) and unmarried status (hazard ratio, 1.29) were the only significant predictors of inactivation. These findings may be useful in developing targeted strategies to decrease inactivation and thereby increase compliance in future chemoprevention trials. However, these findings need to be confirmed because published research in this area is very limited.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)999-1002
Number of pages4
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Oncology


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