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Race and Gender Disparities in Lung Cancer Clinical Trials

Blacks and women less likely to be enrolled

TUESDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Women and blacks are less likely to enroll in treatment trials for lung cancer, according to a study in the Jan. 15 issue of Cancer.

Wei Du, Ph.D., of Wayne State University in Detroit, and colleagues analyzed data from 427 lung cancer patients from Detroit's Karmanos Cancer Institute who were eligible for clinical trials between 1994 and 1998. Of the sample, 175 were black and 59% were male.

In total, 91 patients (21%) participated in a lung cancer clinical trial. Patients who did not participate were more likely to be black (45% versus 25% of enrollees), female (43% versus 32%) and older than 70 (24% versus 10%). Males comprised 68% of enrollees, and blacks comprised 25%. Other factors such as age and insurance type were not significant predictors of enrollment.

"The current results... support the need to improve educational and outreach endeavors that would make clinical trials available to a wider range of eligible patients," the authors conclude. "However, our results should be interpreted with some degree of caution, because we studied enrollment only at a single, large, urban academic medical center; therefore, our findings may not generalize to other regions of the country or to smaller community settings."

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