Twitter can be an effective tool to communicate with the public about cancer clinical trials and increase awareness and patient recruitment, said researchers.
Mina S Sedrak from Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and co-authors conducted a pilot study and analyzed the content of 1,516 tweets.
The tweets were from among a total of 15,346 unique tweets that contained "lung cancer" over a little more than two weeks in January 2015.
About 17.5 per cent of the tweets in the sample (221 of 1,260) were related to clinical trials while only one tweet linked to a patient recruitment website, the authors report.
"Social media could become a very useful tool for clinical researchers but may also pose some challenges with respect to both non-coercive content and the assurance of privacy, both of which the IRBs [institutional review boards] will need to consider carefully," the authors noted in a paper which appeared in the journal JAMA Oncology.
"Future efforts are needed to explore whether Twitter can emerge as a viable medium for promoting accrual to clinical trials," they added.