CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · Avicenna J Med 2020; 10(02): 68-75
DOI: 10.4103/ajm.ajm_186_19
Original Article

How to read a published clinical trial: a practical guide for clinicians

Mohamad B Sonbol
Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Phoenix, Arizona
Belal M Firwana
Heartland Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP), Missouri Baptist Medical Center, St. Louis, Missouri
Talal Hilal
University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, Mississippi
Mohammad Hassan Murad
Evidence-Based Practice Center, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
› Author Affiliations

Subject Editor: Financial support and sponsorship Nil.


Over the last 5 years, there have been more than 140 new drug approvals in the field of Oncology alone, all based on newly published clinical trials. These approvals have led to an ongoing change in clinical practice, offering new therapeutic options for patients. Therefore, it is important for healthcare providers to be able to appraise a clinical trial and determine its validity, understand its results, and be able to apply such results to their patients. In this guide, we provide a simplified approach tailored to practicing clinicians and trainees. The same concepts and principles apply to other medical specialties.

Publication History

Article published online:
04 August 2021

© 2020. Syrian American Medical Society. This is an open access article published by Thieme under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonDerivative-NonCommercial-License, permitting copying and reproduction so long as the original work is given appropriate credit. Contents may not be used for commercial purposes, or adapted, remixed, transformed or built upon. (

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