Cancer clinical trials with the clinical trials office (CTO) in their organizational structure assist in the prevention, early detection, cancer treatment, and, ultimately, cancer cure. CTOs are the centralized resource for clinical trial conduct and typically use research staff with expertise in four functional areas: finance, regulatory, clinical, and data operations. 

Lack of benchmark data sets that characterize the size, cost, volume, and efficiency of CTO led the Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI) Clinical Research Innovation (CRI) steering committee to develop an 11 question survey to address this knowledge gap.

It addressed CTO budget, accrual and trial volume, full-time equivalents (FTEs), staff turnover, and activation timelines and sent to 92 academic cancer research centers in North America, and 86% responses were received.

The FTE employees working in the CTOs ranged from 4.5 to 811 and the median number of analytic cases reported by the main center was 3,856. Annual CTO budgets were between $250,000 to $23,900,000 . The median trial activation time was 167 days based on 61 centers. The median number of accruals per center was 480, and the median number of trials per center was 282. Budget and FTE ranges varied by NCI designation.

With the high response rate, a wide range in each of the outcomes was noted.  To keep with the wide variation in size and scope of cancer center CTOs across the United States and Canada, transparency in sharing benchmarks is essential.