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Black patient enrollment slowed by globalization

A new study by Wiley in Cancer found that the recent trend of US clinical investigators expanding clinical trials to global sites has actually hindered Black patient enrollment.

As we’ve discussed before, Black patients are historically underrepresented in the clinical realm. The recent efforts to disrupt this pattern may have fallen short, with globalization attempts actually being part of the problem. The study suggests that clinical studies conducted primarily outside of the US enroll as few as half the number of Black Patients as studies conducted within the US.

Given the importance of diversity in testing a drug’s safety and efficacy across entire treatment populations, the trend is worrying. The study, conducted by Dr Galsky and Dr Tharakan of New York’s Icahn School of Medicine, examined 21 cancer clinical trials spanning from 2015 to 2018.

Their analysis of the demographic data revealed that of the 18 trials which gained FDA approval (excluding those which omitted race information) 64% of patients were enrolled outside of the US, and Black patients made up only 3.2% of their final enrollment figures.

The study describes the disparity, “The enrolment of Black patients in cancer clinical trials continues to trend far below the true prevalence of disease in Black patients in the United States, limiting the generalizability of trial results.”

This trend is especially concerning given the vital nature of cancer clinical studies in particular.

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