Novel strategies needed to boost cancer clinical trial participation among blacks and Asians

The better informed people are about cancer clinical trials, the more likely they are overall to consider participating in a trial, according to a UC Davis study published in today's issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. However, knowing about cancer clinical trials does not appear to increase participation among black and Asian Americans.

The findings suggest that informational campaigns may be effective strategies to boost participation in clinical trials in the general population. But additional strategies may be needed to increase participation by black and Asian American patients.

"Understanding the reasons behind low rates of enrollment in clinical trials and developing strategies to overcome these barriers is essential," said Primo N. Lara, Jr., associate professor of hematology and oncology at UC Davis and lead author of the new study. "It's especially important to increase the participation of minority populations -- otherwise, the conclusions we reach in cancer clinical trials may not apply to minority patients."

Lara, one of the nation's leading experts on the subject of barriers to cancer clinical trial participation, undertook the study to develop baseline data against which to measure the impact of future interventions. The study is among the first large-scale investigations of its kind to prospectively assess patient-related barriers to participation in cancer clinical trials.

In the study, Lara and his colleagues surveyed 1,188 cancer patients and their family members between October 2003 and April 2004. He found that 59 percent of those surveyed knew that a cancer clinical trial tests the safety and effectiveness of new anti-cancer agents; 19 percent knew about SB 37, a California law that requires insurance companies to cover cancer clinical trials; and 36 percent agreed that if they had cancer and were asked to be in a clinical trial, they would be likely to consider participating.

The study also foun

Contact: Claudia Morain
University of California, Davis - Health System

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