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Fewer Children Enrolling in Pediatric Cancer Trials

Adolescent and young adult cancer patients underrepresented in clinical trials

a child girl patient

WEDNESDAY, May 6, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Just one in five pediatric cancer patients enroll in clinical trials, down from 40 to 70 percent during the 1990s and 20 to 25 percent in the early 2000s, according to a study published online April 23 in PLOS ONE.

Kelly E. Faulk, M.D., from the University of Colorado Aurora, and colleagues evaluated upfront trial enrollment for U.S. pediatric cancer patients (0 to 29 years old between 2004 and 2015). Data and U.S. population estimates from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program were compared to data from the Children's Oncology Group (COG).

The researchers found that 19.9 percent of estimated U.S. cancer patients (ages 0 to 19 years) enrolled in COG trials. Across diseases and races/ethnicities, younger patients were more represented. Additionally, patients with hematologic malignancies were more represented versus those with solid and central nervous system (CNS) tumors.

"Though racial/ethnic groups and county-level socioeconomic factors were proportionally represented, under representation of the adolescent/young adult population and younger patients with solid and CNS tumors remains a concern," the authors write.

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