Biomedical research cannot succeed without funding, knowledgeable staff, and appropriate infrastructure. There are however equally important but intangible factors that are rarely considered in planning large multidisciplinary endeavors or evaluating their success. The Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial required extensive collaborations between individuals from many fields, including clinicians, clinical trialists, and administrators; it also addressed questions across the spectrum of cancer prevention and control. In this manuscript, we examine the experiences and opinions of trial staff regarding the building of successful relationships in PLCO. We summarize, in narrative form, data collected using open-ended questionnaires that were administered to the National Cancer Institute project officers, coordinating center staff, screening center principal investigators, and screening center coordinators in 2015, about 3 years after publication of the final primary trial manuscript. Trust, respect, listening to others, and in-person interaction were frequently mentioned as crucial to building successful relationships.
- Cancer screening
- Randomized controlled trials as subject
- Team science