The randomized controlled trial (RCT) is the gold standard for establishing new therapies in clinical oncology. Here we document changes with time in design, sponsorship, and outcomes of oncology RCTs. Reports of RCTs evaluating systemic therapy for breast, colorectal (CRC), and non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) published 1975 to 2004 in six major journals were reviewed. Two authors abstracted data regarding trial design, results, and conclusions. Conclusions of authors were graded using a 7-point Likert scale. For each study the effect size for the primary end point was converted to a summary measure. A total of 321 eligible RCTs were included (48% breast, 24% CRC, 28% NSCLC). Over time, the number and size of RCTs increased considerably. For-profit/mixed sponsorship increased substantially during the study period (4% to 57%; P < .001). There was increasing use of time-to-event measures (39% to 78%) and decreasing use of response rate (54% to 14%) as primary end point (P < .001). Effect size remained stable over the study period. Authors have become more likely to strongly endorse the experimental arm (P = .017). A significant P value for the primary end point and industry sponsorship were each independently associated with endorsement of the experimental agent (odds ratio [OR] = 19.6, 95% CI, 8.9 to 43.1, and OR = 3.5, 95% CI, 1.6 to 7.5, respectively). RCTs in oncology have become larger and are more likely to be sponsored by industry. Authors of modern RCTs are more likely to strongly endorse novel therapies. For-profit sponsorship and statistically significant results are independently associated with endorsement of the experimental arm.