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Sex, Race Influence Lung Cancer Trial Participation

Women and African-Americans are generally reluctant to enroll in treatment trials for lung cancer, according to a new study appearing in the January 15, 2006 issue of CANCER, the journal of the American Cancer Society.//

Previous studies have found that the drugs that are a part of the chemotherapy regimen are primarily approved after clinical trials that involve more men than women. Lawmakers as well as researchers have stressed the need to enroll more women and minority groups in these trials since the drugs act differently as biological factors are altered. The current study highlights the fact that only about five percent of the cancer patients actually participate in drug trials, thereby severely hampering the research efforts. Wei Du, Ph.D., and colleagues from Wayne State University monitored the role played by these factors in a review of 427 lung cancer patients. Out of these 175 were African-Americans and 252 were from other races. These people were available for clinical trials at the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit in the period between 1994 and 1998.

Among the 427, 91 patients took part in lung cancer trials, while 45 percent of the African Americans did not participate. Additionally 43 percent of women also had no part to play in the trials. Researchers say that the participation was hampered by religious beliefs, wariness about medical establishment and a lack of knowledge about clinical trials. "New recruitment strategies targeting specific patient subgroups might be helpful in ensuring equal representation of women and minority groups in cancer clinical trials," they conclude.

Main Article: "Predictors of Enrollment in Lung Cancer Clinical Trials," Wei Du, Shirish M. Gadgeel, Michael S. Simon, CANCER; Published Online: December 12, 2005 (DOI: 10.1002/cncr.21638); Print Issue Date: January 15, 2006. Contact: David Greenberg 201-748-6484 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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