American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting
American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting
Source/Disclosures
Source:

Unger JM, et al. Abstract 4344/8. Presented at: American Association for Cancer Research Virtual Annual Meeting II; June 22-24, 2020.

Disclosures: Unger reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the abstract for all other researchers’ relevant financial disclosures.
June 25, 2020
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Black patients less represented in pharmaceutical-led vs. NCI-sponsored cancer trials

Source/Disclosures
Source:

Unger JM, et al. Abstract 4344/8. Presented at: American Association for Cancer Research Virtual Annual Meeting II; June 22-24, 2020.

Disclosures: Unger reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the abstract for all other researchers’ relevant financial disclosures.
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Black patients with cancer have been significantly underrepresented in pharmaceutical company-sponsored clinical trials, according to study results presented at American Association for Cancer Research Virtual Annual Meeting II.

“My colleagues and I previously examined the rate of Black participation in trials that led to new FDA drug approvals, and we found that most trials leading to new drug approvals are sponsored by pharmaceutical companies. It is known that NCI-sponsored network groups are determined to provide access to trials for vulnerable populations,” Joseph Unger, PhD, MS, Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG) health services researcher and associate professor in the division of public health sciences at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, told Healio. “This is what led me to investigate whether NCI-sponsored trials had better representation of Black patients compared with pharmaceutical-sponsored studies after controlling for cancer type and period of enrollment.”

Black patients with cancer have been significantly underrepresented in pharmaceutical company-sponsored clinical trials.
Black patients with cancer have been significantly underrepresented in pharmaceutical company-sponsored clinical trials.

Investigators compared the representation of Black patients in 74 pharmaceutical company-sponsored clinical trials that supported new FDA-approved agents with that of 153 National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) trials included in the SWOG Cancer Research Network. They additionally used data from the SEER database and U.S. Census Bureau to estimate the expected rate of participation by Black patients for the cancers studied, comparing the proportion of Black patients by enrollment year overall and for specific cancer types.

Results showed the overall proportion of Black patients was 2.9% for pharmaceutical company-sponsored trials, 8.3% for SWOG trials and 12.1% for the U.S. cancer population.

The proportion of Black patients was significantly lower for pharmaceutical company-sponsored trials across all cancer types, except for melanoma, compared with SWOG trials and the U.S. cancer population, researchers noted.

Joseph M. Unger, PhD
Joseph Unger

“It was surprising to see how different the rates of Black participation in trials were — NCI-sponsored trials enrolled three-times more Black patients than pharmaceutical-sponsored trials. This was a dramatic finding,” Unger said. “We are all familiar with the statistic that suggests only about 5% of adult patients with cancer participate in clinical trials. My colleagues and I are now working to address a more specific question: How often do patients who are offered a clinical trial agree to participate? We are focusing on whether there are differences in rates of agreement by race and ethnicity, given the notable disparities in access to trials for vulnerable populations.”