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Minorities, Women Underrepresented in Pancreatic Cancer Trials

84.7 percent of patients in clinical trials were White and 54.8 percent were men; underrepresentation seen in trials of nearly all phases

TUESDAY, Aug. 17, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Non-White, Hispanic, and female patients with pancreatic cancer are underrepresented in clinical trials, according to a study published online Aug. 17 in Gastroenterology.

Kelly M. Herremans, M.D., from the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville, and colleagues discuss racial- and ethnic-minority patient underrepresentation in pancreatic cancer clinical trials.

Data were included from 207 pancreatic cancer clinical trials comprising 8,429 pooled participants, with results reported between 2005 and 2020. The researchers noted a positive trajectory in the reporting of race and ethnicity data, but non-White and Hispanic patients remained markedly underrepresented in clinical trials. Most participants in clinical trials were White (84.7 percent), while Black, Asian/Pacific Islander, American Indian or Alaskan Native, and Hispanic patients were underrepresented (8.2, 2.4, 0.3, and 6.0 percent, respectively). Trial participants were more likely to be men than women (54.8 versus 45.2 percent). Non-White, Hispanic, and female patients were underrepresented across nearly all phases of clinical trials; no Black or American Indian/Alaskan Native patients were documented in phase 3 clinical trials in the United States. Non-White and Hispanic patients were underrepresented in clinical trials sponsored by universities and cancer care centers, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, and the National Cancer Institute.

“If we don’t have good diversity in clinical trials, how will we ever know whether we have certain drugs that work better in some populations than others?” a coauthor said in a statement. “We could be throwing away a really good treatment option for racial and ethnic minority patients.”

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