The TOSCA Registry for Tuberous Sclerosis—Lessons Learnt for Future Registry Development in Rare and Complex Diseases


Introduction: The TuberOus SClerosis registry to increase disease Awareness (TOSCA) is an international disease registry designed to provide insights into the clinical characteristics of patients with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC). The aims of this study were to identify issues that arose during the design, execution, and publication phases of TOSCA, and to reflect on lessons learnt that may guide future registries in rare and complex diseases.

Methods: A questionnaire was designed to identify the strengths, weaknesses, and issues that arose at any stage of development and implementation of the TOSCA registry. The questionnaire contained 225 questions distributed in 7 sections (identification of issues during registry planning, during the operation of the registry, during data analysis, during the publication of the results, other issues, assessment of lessons learnt, and additional comments), and was sent by e-mail to 511 people involved in the registry, including 28 members of the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), 162 principal investigators (PIs), and 321 employees of the sponsor belonging to the medical department or that were clinical research associate (CRA). Questionnaires received within the 2 months from the initial mailing were included in the analysis.

Results: A total of 53 (10.4%) questionnaires were received (64.3% for SAB members, 12.3% for PIs and 4.7% for employees of the sponsor), and the overall completeness rate for closed questions was 87.6%. The most common issues identified were the limited duration of the registry (38%) and issues related to handling of missing data (32%). In addition, 25% of the respondents commented that biases might have compromised the validity of the results. More than 80% of the respondents reported that the registry improved the knowledge on the natural history and manifestations of TSC, increased disease awareness and helped to identify relevant information for clinical research in TSC.

Conclusions: This analysis shows the importance of registries as a powerful tool to increase disease awareness, to produce real-world evidence, and to generate questions for future research. However, there is a need to implement strategies to ensure patient retention and long-term sustainability of patient registries, to improve data quality, and to reduce biases.



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