Women often opt out of lung cancer studies

Women and African-Americans are under-represented in lung cancer clinical trials, clinicians report in the journal Cancer. “The lack of participation by minorities and women shut them out of the next generation of potentially life-saving treatment,” warned Dr. Wei Du in comments to Reuters Health.

“It also makes it all the more difficult for clinicians to translate treatment benefits and risks found in a clinical trial to these under-represented patient populations,” the researcher added.

Du, from Wayne State University in Detroit, and colleagues reviewed the medical records of 427 lung cancer patients who were eligible to participate in lung cancer clinical trials at Detroit’s Karmanos Cancer Institute between 1994 and 1996.

The group comprised 175 African-Americans and 252 from other races and 59 percent were male.

Overall, only 91 patients (21 percent) chose to participate in a lung cancer treatment trial.

Patients opting out of a trial were more likely to be African-American (45 percent) compared with those who chose to enroll (25 percent). Non-enrollees were also more likely to be female (43 percent) than enrollees (32 percent), and older than 70 years of age (24 percent vs 10 percent).

“Our finding,” concludes Du, “supports the need for better patient education and new recruitment strategies targeting these specific patient subgroups to help ensure equal representation of women and minority groups in cancer clinical trials.”

SOURCE: Cancer January 15, 2005.

Provided by ArmMed Media
Revision date: July 8, 2011
Last revised: by Amalia K. Gagarina, M.S., R.D.