The level of interest the trial is likely to attract

State the anticipated rate of patient accrual. Before a proposal for a multi-centre trial is submitted, it is often useful to conduct a survey among potential centres to find out their level of interest and how many patients they would expect to be able to enter per year. This can be done by sending them a copy of the draft outline proposal, and a brief questionnaire, asking them to state (1) whether they are interested in participating in the trial and, if so, (2) how many patients they would expect to be able to enter per year, and (3) inviting comments. It is important to bear in mind that estimates of patients per year usually reflect numbers of potentially eligible patients seen per year; the numbers fulfilling all eligibility criteria and agreeing to take part are usually substantially fewer. In the light of our own experience, we therefore suggest dividing such estimates by four.

Make it clear in the proposal that the anticipated rate of accrual is based on the results of a survey.

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