The National Cancer Institute (NCI)-supported adult cooperative oncology research groups (now officially Network groups) have a longstanding history of participating in international collaborations throughout the world. Most frequently, the US-based cooperative groups work reciprocally with the Canadian national adult cancer clinical trial group, NCIC CTG (previously the National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group). Thus, Canada is the largest contributor to cooperative groups based in the United States, and vice versa. Although international collaborations have many benefits, they are most frequently utilized to enhance patient accrual to large phase III trials originating in the United States or Canada. Within the cooperative group setting, adequate attention has not been given to the study of cancers that are unique to countries outside the United States and Canada, such as those frequently associated with infections in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Global collaborations are limited by a number of barriers, some of which are unique to the countries involved, while others are related to financial support and to US policies that restrict drug distribution outside the United States. This article serves to detail the cooperative group experience in international research and describe how international collaboration in cancer clinical trials is a promising and important area that requires greater consideration in the future.
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