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

ed in specialised paediatric units, which, in the UK, run Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG) trials. No such co-ordinated body exists for teenagers and young adults aged 17-24 years. They will most likely be treated in an adult ward and so access to CCLG trials is limited or non existent."

However, amending the age eligibility criteria of trials may not completely address the problem of recruiting teenagers and young adults to trial. Dr Jeremy Whelan, Chief Investigator of the EURAMOS-1 trial (an international osteosarcoma trial) and a consultant medical oncologist at UCH, spoke of a fall off in recruitment beyond the age of 15 despite an age eligibility criteria which spans the whole paediatric and TYA population. Average accrual to EURAMOS-1 in Accrual to EURAMOS-1 in England, Scotland and Wales has demonstrated a decline in accrual from 42.7% for patients aged 10-14 years, 38.3% for those aged 15-19, and 15.7% of patients aged 20-24 during the 2005-2008.

Differences in gaining consent for entering a trial between children and teenagers and young adults has been cited as a reason for poor accrual of teenagers and young adults. However, there are currently no data to show whether gaining consent for trial participation is harder to achieve with teenagers and young adults than for adults or children through proxy of their parents, but Whelan believes it should be no different.

Dr Whelan said: "The problem is not teenagers not wanting to take part in clinical trials, but actually teenagers not being offered the chance to participate."

Dr Whelan and Dr Fern feared that significant improvements in outcomes from cancer for teenagers and young adults would remain elusive without a coalition of forces including funders, policy makers, biologists, clinicians and patients.


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Contact: Emma Mason
wordmason@mac.com
44-077-112-96986
Teenage Cancer Trust
Source:Eurekalert

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