Despite the fact that certain racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to develop pancreatic cancer, be diagnosed at a younger age, and die earlier, selected research has shown that clinical trials do not include representative proportions of non-white patients for presentation at Digestive Disease Week at each phase of the study ® (DDW) 2021.
“We see differences in representation across all types of clinical trials, so we weren’t surprised to see that the same is the case in pancreatic cancer trials. But hopefully we can make a change in this area in the future, ”said Dr. Kelly Herremans, senior researcher in study and surgical research at the University of Florida College of Medicine at Gainesville.
The researchers analyzed data from 8,429 participants in 207 clinical trials in the United States for the treatment of ductal pancreatic adenocarcinoma on ClinicalTrials.gov, a national registry for clinical trial data. Gender was reported in 99% of the studies, while race and ethnicity were reported in 49.3% and 34.7% of the studies, respectively.
Minorities were significantly underrepresented in legal proceedings:
- Black patients made up 8.2% of the study participants, versus 12.4% of the US incidents.
- Hispanic patients made up 6% of the study participants compared to 8.5% of the cases in the US.
- Patients with Asian or Pacific islanders made up 2.4% of the study participants, up from 3.3% of the US incidents.
- Native Americans and native patients from Alaska made up 0.3% of the study participants, compared with 0.4% of the cases in the United States.
White patients were over-represented, accounting for 84.7% of the total study participants, while they accounted for 82.3% of the total US incidents. Overall, 54.8% of the study participants were male and 45.2% female.
Diversity is important to clinical trials because previous research has shown racial differences in tumor biology, Herremans said. For example, black patients have different rates of both somatic and germline mutations compared to other racial subgroups, which means that they may respond differently to treatment.
“We treat everyone as if they were the same and their tumors would respond the same to treatments, but it’s important to study the differences between tumor biology and ancestral therapeutic responses,” Herremans said.
Edited by Gary Cramer