INTRODUCTION: Many challenges to clinical trial accrual exist, resulting in studies with inadequate enrollment and potentially delaying answers to important scientific and clinical questions. METHODS: The National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) cosponsored the Cancer Trial Accrual Symposium: Science and Solutions on April 29-30, 2010 to examine the state of accrual science related to patient/community, physician/provider, and site/organizational influences, and identify new interventions to facilitate clinical trial enrollment. The symposium featured breakout sessions, plenary sessions, and a poster session including 100 abstracts. Among the 358 attendees were clinical investigators, researchers of accrual strategies, research administrators, nurses, research coordinators, patient advocates, and educators. A bibliography of the accrual literature in these three major areas was provided to participants in advance of the meeting. After the symposium, the literature in these areas was revisited to determine if the symposium recommendations remained relevant within the context of the current literature. RESULTS: Few rigorously conducted studies have tested interventions to address challenges to clinical trials accrual. Attendees developed recommendations for improving accrual and identified priority areas for future accrual research at the patient/community, physician/provider, and site/organizational levels. Current literature continues to support the symposium recommendations. CONCLUSIONS: A combination of approaches addressing both the multifactorial nature of accrual challenges and the characteristics of the target population may be needed to improve accrual to cancer clinical trials. Recommendations for best practices and for future research developed from the symposium are provided.