This article was originally published here
JAMA Netw Open. 2021 May 3;4(5):e218348. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.8348.
IMPORTANCE: The disease burden for primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) is highest among racial/ethnic minority groups, particularly Black individuals. The prevalence of POAG worldwide is projected to increase from 52.7 million in 2020 to 79.8 million in 2040, a 51.4% increase attributed mainly to Asian and African individuals. Given this increase, key stakeholders need to pay particular attention to creating a diverse study population in POAG clinical trials.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the prevalence of racial/ethnic minorities in POAG clinical research trials compared with White individuals.
DATA SOURCES: This meta-analysis consisted of publicly available POAG clinical trials using ClinicalTrials.gov, PubMed, and [email protected] from 1994 to 2019.
STUDY SELECTION: Randomized clinical trials that reported on interventions for POAG and included demographic subgroups including sex and race/ethnicity.
DATA EXTRACTION AND SYNTHESIS: Using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, 2 independent reviewers extracted study-level data for a random-effects meta-analysis. A third person served as the tiebreaker on study selection. Microsoft Excel 2016 (Microsoft Corporation) and SAS, version 9.4 (SAS Institute) were used for data collection and analyses.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: The primary outcomes were the prevalence of each demographic subgroup (White, Black, Hispanic/Latino, other race/ethnicity groups, and female or male) in each trial according to the trial start year, study region, and study sponsor. Participation rates are expressed as percentages.
RESULTS: A total of 105 clinical trials were included in the meta-analysis, including 33 428 POAG clinical trial participants (18 404 women [55.1%]). Overall, 70.7% were White patients, 16.8% were Black patients, 3.4% were Hispanic/Latino patients, and 9.1% were individuals of other races/ethnicities, including Asian, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, American Indian or Alaska Native, and unreported as defined by the US Census. The mean (SD) numbers of participants by race/ethnicity were 236.5 (208.2) for White, 58.4 (70.0) for Black, 29.9 (71.1) for Hispanic/Latino, and 31.1 (94.3) for other race/ethnicity. According to the test for heterogeneity using the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool, the I2 statistic was 98%, indicating high heterogeneity of outcomes in the included trials. A multiple linear regression analysis was performed to assess any trend and significance between participation by Black individuals and the year the study started, the region in which the study took place, and the study sponsor. There was no significant increase of Black participant enrollment from 1994 to 2019 (r2 = 0.11; P = .17) and no significant association between Black participant enrollment and clinical trial region (r2 = 0.16; P = .50), but there was a significant association between Black participant enrollment and study sponsor (r2 = 0.94; P = .03).
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: This meta-analysis found that compared with White individuals, individuals from racial/ethnic minority groups had a very low participation rate in POAG clinical trials despite having a higher prevalence among the disease population. Despite measures to increase clinical trial diversity, there has not been a significant increase in clinical trial participation among Black individuals, the group most affected by this disease; this disparity in POAG clinical trial representation can raise questions about the true safety and efficacy of approved medical interventions for this disease and should prompt further research on how to increase POAG clinical trial diversity.