Less than 1% of Cancer Patients Enrolled in Trials, Study Says

By eCliniqua Staff

August 29, 2011 | Less than 1% of cancer patients participate in a clinical trial, according to a study published in the September issue of the Annals of Surgery.

Waddah Al-Refaie of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and colleagues used the 2001-2008 California Cancer Registry to determine patterns and predictors of enrollment in clinical trials for stage 0 to IV solid organ malignant turmors. They found that only 1566 of 244,528 patients enrolled in a trial--0.64%. Most of those were white and young. Black patients, older patients, those with early stage cancers, and those with lung or gastrointesinal cancers were less likely to be involved in a trial. Underinsured and uninsured patients were also less likely to enroll.

The low numbers are understandably disturbing, but the study did not specify the reasons for low involvement, whether they be a lack of trials, lack of information, patient reluctance or another factor.

The general uniformity in patient type (white, young), again raises concerns about trials applicablity to a wide range of patients.

"Vast underrepresentation by age, cancer stage, and site continue to exist. The generalizability of these trials to a real world perspective remains an open question," said the authors in their conclusion. "Physicians, payers, the National Cancer Institute, and other stakeholders need to develop broader cancer trials to benefit the millions of patients with cancer in the United States."



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