Enrolments in cancer clinical trials as a proportion of cancer incidence

Why this indicator is important

Clinical trials are an important way to support the development of new cancer treatments and improve cancer care.

Clinical trials provide additional treatment options and may provide access to new treatments before they are widely available. There is also evidence that, when hospitals are involved in research, this can improve their processes of care and health outcomes for all patients.1-3

Cancer clinical trials are being conducted in hospitals and cancer centres across most local health districts (LHDs) in NSW.

People with cancer in NSW can take part in a trial that is suitable for them, even if it is being conducted in a different LHD from where they live.

About this indicator

For every 100 people diagnosed with cancer in NSW, there were just under six enrolments in a cancer clinical trial in 2019–2020.

Cancer clinical trial enrolment ratios ranged from fewer than 1 to 14 across LHDs, in 2019–2020.

Ratio of cancer clinical trial enrolments to cancer incidence (per 100 cases), by local health district (LHD) of treatment (ranked), NSW, 2018–2019 FY and 2019–2020 FY

N = Number of incident cancer cases, 2017.


  1. Data sources: Cancer Institute NSW Clinical Trials Portal (enrolments) and NSW Cancer Registry (incident cases) 2017.
  2. Cancer incidence is determined by the LHD of residence, while clinical trial enrolments are derived from the LHD where the clinical trial is conducted.
  3. The ratio is derived from the number of enrolments into cancer clinical trials divided by the number of incident cancer cases in 2017 by LHD. This has been multiplied by 100 to give the ratio per 100 incident cancer cases.
  4. Northern Sydney LHD enrolments includes private institutions that are external to the LHD structure including: Melanoma Institute Australia, Northern Cancer Institute, Mater Hospital North Sydney, and San Clinical Trials unit.
  5. LHDs include enrolments from the Sydney Children's Hospitals Network.
  6. The NSW total includes St Vincent's Health Network that is external to the LHD structure.


  1. Boaz A, Hanney S, Jones T, Soper B. Does the engagement of clinicians and organisations in research improve healthcare performance: a three-stage review. BMJ Open. 2015;5(12):e009415. doi:10.1136/ bmjopen–2015–009415
  2. Ozdemir BA, Karthikesalingam A, Sinha S, Poloniecki JD, Hinchliffe RJ, Thompson MM, et al. Research activity and the association with mortality. PLoS One. 2015; 10(2):e0118253. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0118253.
  3. Clarke M, Loudon K. Effects on patients of their healthcare practitioner’s or institution’s participation in clinical trials: a systematic review. Trials 2011 Jan20;12(16).