A nationwide analysis of pancreatic cancer trial enrollment reveals disparities and participation problems


Background: Our research group recently surveyed the clinical trial landscape in pancreatic adenocarcinoma and identified 430 active trials. These represent an opportunity to expand treatment options for patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Our primary objective was to detail clinical trial participation among patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Our secondary objective was to evaluate survival.

Methods: We queried the National Cancer Database (2004–2016) for patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Patients were stratified by trial participation: clinical trial or non-trial. Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify variables associated with trial participation. The Kaplan-Meier method and multivariable Cox hazards regression were used to analyze survival.

Results: In total, 261,483 patients were included: 1,110 (0.4%) were enrolled in a clinical trial. A total of 57 Black patients participated in a clinical trial (0.19% of Black patients). This was lower compared to White patients (n = 955, 0.49% of White patients, P < .001). After adjusting for demographic and clinical factors, Black patients were less likely to be enrolled in a clinical trial (odds ratio = 0.387, P < .001). Patients treated at nonacademic medical centers were less likely to be in a clinical trial.
Trial participation was associated with an increased median survival relative to non-trial patients (stage IV: 9.0 vs 3.8 months, P < .001), and this association remained on multivariable regression (hazard ratio = 0.779, P < .001).

Conclusion: Fewer than 1% of patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma participated in a clinical trial. There are racial and sociodemographic disparities in clinical trial enrollment. An association was observed between clinical trial participants and prolonged survival.