Am J Transl Res. 2020 Sep 15;12(9):5977-5983. eCollection 2020.
Background: Geriatric patients and minority patients are often under-represented in cancer clinical trials. The presence of multiple comorbidities makes geriatric patients ineligible for most clinical trials. Racial diversity may vary by geographical location and socio-economically backward areas may have a very different racial mix. The increase in cancer incidence in geriatric patients’ raises the question of applicability of the results is such clinical trials. This study also explores the representation of different races in phase 3 clinical trials conducted in the past 10 years. Methods: Data about Phase III trials was extracted from the clinical trials.gov for 3 common solid organs and 3 hematological malignancies [breast, colon, lung, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)]. The time period studied was for the past 10 years and included only adult patients (≥18 years). The age and race distribution of the patient population in these trials were extracted and analyzed. Results: Geriatric patients and minorities are under-represented in all phase III cancer clinical trials. The range of the proportion of geriatric patients varied from 10% to 40%. African American and Asian patients are under-represented in all phase III cancer clinical trials. Conclusions: The results of phase III clinical trials that are currently conducted on non-geriatric and Caucasian patient population may not meaningfully be applicable to geriatric patients and minorities. This study highlights the disparity of age and race for patients enrolled in clinical trials as against the patients seen in the real world.