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Organizers of cancer clinical trials are neglecting teenagers and young adults
Date:6/9/2008

-24 years in all three years. In 2005/6, 42.6% of 10-14 year olds with cancer were recruited to clinical trials, 22.9% of 15-19 year-olds and 13.4% of 20-24 year-olds. In 2006/7, there were slight increases in accrual rates for 15-19 year olds (41.3% aged 10-14, 27.3% aged 15-19), but a drop for 20-24 year-olds to 10.9%. Dr Fern expressed concern that these trends would continue as analysis of the 2007/08 data suggested that recruitment of 20-24 year olds has fallen to approximately 7.5%, compared to 39.7% of 10-14 year olds and 25.4% of 15-19 years.

She said: "There are a number of reasons for the low level of recruitment of teenagers and young adults to trials, particularly for the 20-24 year-olds. These include inappropriate trial design, poor accessibility to trials for TYAs, and too many young people not being treated by specialist cancer teams.

"At present, the design and age eligibility criteria for trials tend to reflect whether the trial organisers treat children or adult patients, rather than the biology of the particular cancer, and the age group which it is mostly likely to occur in. Traditionally, trials will have an age cut off between 16 and 20. TYAs are constantly falling through the gap created by the tendency for paediatricians to treat the younger ages, and for the older ages to be treated in adult cancer wards.

"If we are to see improvements in the treatments and outcomes for TYAs with cancer, there needs to be closer dialogue between research groups when they are planning cancer trials. They should give particular consideration to the specific needs of this over-looked age group so that a more appropriate trial portfolio for TYAs can be established in the UK."

Dr Fern said she thought that particular effort was needed to improve the recruitment of 20-24 year-olds to clinical trials. "One of the reasons why there is a relatively higher level of 10-14 year-olds entering trials is because they tend to be treat
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Contact: Emma Mason
wordmason@mac.com
44-077-112-96986
Teenage Cancer Trust
Source:Eurekalert

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