Sample size calculations are an important part of any clinical trial and information about these calculations, the statistical power, multiplicity issues, etc. are necessary for the reader’s critical review of the trial report.

Bariani et al. (1) systematically reviewed 140 phase III trials published in 6 leading journals accompanied by editorials from January 2008 to October 2011.

Nearly 80% of the reports reported a target sample size, but less than 30% provided information on all the required parameters.

The authors conclude that the quality of reporting sample size calculations in phase III cancer trials is poor and may compromise future trials’ design, pooling of data, and results interpretation.


1. Bariani GM, de Celis Ferrari AC, Precivale M, Arai R, Saad ED. Riechelmann RP. Sample size calculation in oncology trials: Quality of reporting and implications for clinical cancer research. Am J Clin Oncol 2014, Jan 7.