Two decades ago, the oncology community was alerted to age disparities in cooperative group studies by an analysis of National Cancer Institute (NCI) funded trials. Older cancer patients have long been underrepresented in clinical trials, despite the disease primarily affecting the aging population. Researchers had not only investigated the disparities in age, but they also noted lesser representation of racial and ethnic minorities, and women.
The latest analysis of oncologic treatment clinical trial cohort demographics reveals a concerning lack of improvement in diversified representation, especially of the aging population. Today, the median age of trial participants is nearly 7 years younger than the median age of cancer patients and the age gap is worsening, according to new research published online in JAMA Oncology.