Quality assessment of clinical trial registration with traditional Chinese medicine in WHO registries

Xuan Zhang, Ran Tian, Zhen Yang, Chen Zhao, Liang Yao, Chung Tai Lau, Taixiang Wu, Hongcai Shang, Xiaoyang Zhang, Aiping Lu, Zhaoxiang Bian*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: This study aimed to assess the registration quality of clinical trials (CTs) with traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) and identify the common problems if any. Methods The ICTRP database was searched for all TCM CTs that were registered up to 31 December 2017. Registered information of each trial was collected from specific registry involved in ICTRP through hyperlink. The primary analysis was to assess the reporting quality of registered trials with TCM interventions, which is based on the minimum 20 items of WHO Trial Registration Data Set (TRDS, V.1.2.1) plus optional additional three items recommended by ICTRP, and some specific items for TCM information (including TCM intervention, diagnosis, outcome and rationale). Descriptive statistics were additionally used to analyse the baseline characteristics of TCM trial registrations.

Results: A total of 3339 records in 15 registries were examined. The number of TCM registered trials has increased rapidly after the requirement of mandatory trial registration proposed by International Committee of Medical Journal Editors on 1 July 2005, and the top two registries were Chinese Clinical Trial Registry and ClincialTrials.gov. Of 3339 trials, 61% were prospective registration and 12.8% shared resultant publications. There were 2955 interventional trials but none of them had a 100% reporting rate of the minimum 20 items and additional three items. The reporting quality of these 23 items was not optimal due to 11 of them had a lower reporting rate (<65%). For TCM details, 49.2% lacked information on description of TCM intervention(s), 85.9% did not contain TCM diagnosis criteria, 92.6% did not use TCM outcome(s) and 67.1% lacked information on TCM background and rationale.

Conclusion: The registration quality of TCM CTs should be improved by prospective registration, full completion of WHO TRDS, full reporting of TCM information and results sharing. Further full set of trial registration items for TCM trials should be developed thus to standardise the content of TCM trial registration.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere025218
Number of pages14
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2019

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Medicine(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • clinical trial registration
  • registration quality
  • traditional Chinese medicine


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