The Clinical Trials Gap for Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer: Recent Progress and Conceptual Framework for Continued Research.
ABSTRACT: Over the past 30 years, adolescents and young adults (AYA, 15-39 years of age) with cancer have shown significantly less improvement in survival than younger and older patients. Because evidence suggests this may be related to their low participation in cancer clinical trials, increasing accrual to these trials has become a priority for closing this "AYA gap." This paper reviews data documenting low AYA enrollment, presents a conceptual framework for research and intervention (Clinical Trials Pathway to Enrollment) and summarizes recent developments in the United States National Cancer Institute-sponsored clinical trials enterprise that are expected to improve AYA enrollment, including the National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) and expanded scientific collaboration between the Children's Oncology Group and adult NCTN groups. While time will be required for the effects of these changes to be fully realized, they offer a mechanism for facilitating the breadth of clinical/translational research needed for advancing AYA oncology and measuring its impact.
Project description:Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology (AYAO, including patients 15-39 years of age) is an emerging discipline in the field of cancer treatment and research. Poorer survival outcomes for this population and characteristic age-related challenges in care have called attention to the need for increased AYAO research. This chapter outlines pressing questions and reviews recent progress in AYAO research within the current organizational structure of the federal clinical trials enterprise, emphasizing how the United States National Cancer Institute's National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) has created novel opportunities for collaborative AYAO research among the pediatric and adult NCTN groups. Potential strategies for expanding AYAO research, both within the NCTN and with other partners in the federal and advocacy domains are identified.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Few adolescents and young adults (AYAs, 15-39 years old) enroll onto cancer clinical trials, which hinders research otherwise having the potential to improve outcomes in this unique population. Prior studies have reported that AYAs are more likely to receive cancer care in community settings. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has led efforts to increase trial enrollment through its network of NCI-designated cancer centers (NCICC) combined with community outreach through its Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP; replaced by the NCI Community Oncology Research Program in 2014). METHODS:Using AYA proportional enrollment (the proportion of total enrollments who were AYAs) as the primary outcome, we examined enrollment of AYAs onto SWOG therapeutic trials at NCICC, CCOP, and non-NCICC/non-CCOP sites from 2004 to 2013 by type of site, study period (2004-08 vs 2009-13), and patient demographics. RESULTS:Overall, AYA proportional enrollment was 10.1%. AYA proportional enrollment decreased between 2004-2008 and 2009-2013 (13.1% vs 8.5%, P < .001), and was higher at NCICCs than at CCOPs and non-NCICC/non-CCOPs (14.1% vs 8.3% and 9.2%, respectively; P < .001). AYA proportional enrollment declined significantly at all three site types. Proportional enrollment of AYAs who were Black or Hispanic was significantly higher at NCICCs compared with CCOPs or non-NCICC/non-CCOPs (11.5% vs 8.8, P = .048 and 11.5% vs 8.6%, P = .03, respectively). CONCLUSION:Not only did community sites enroll a lower proportion of AYAs onto cancer clinical trials, but AYA enrollment decreased in all study settings. Initiatives aimed at increasing AYA enrollment, particularly in the community setting with attention to minority status, are needed.
Project description:In the United States, adolescent and young adult (AYA) patients with cancer have the lowest clinical trial participation rate of all age groups and slower progress in survival improvement than younger patients. Ominously, AYA clinical trial participation has been steadily decreasing since 2010, except in 15-19 year olds and AYAs with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. In order to reverse the accrual trend, multiple changes are necessary, including convincing community oncologists to pursue clinical trials on behalf of their AYA patients and to have the new National Community Oncology Research Program and National Clinical Trials Network lead a coordinated effort to increase accrual.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Drug-drug interactions (DDIs) in subjects enrolling in clinical trials can impact not only safety of the patient but also study drug outcomes and data validity. This makes it critical to adequately screen and manage DDIs. The study objective was to determine the prevalence of DDIs involving study medications in subjects enrolling in National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) clinical trials at a single institution. DDIs were evaluated based on study protocol recommendations for concomitant medication use (i.e. exclude, avoid or use caution), screening via DDI tool, and pharmacist review.<h4>Methods</h4>Subjects enrolled in NCTN trials of commercially available agents between January 2013 and August 2017 were included if a complete medication list was available. Complete medication lists were collected from the date of enrollment or the next available date then screened utilizing protocol guidance and the DDI screening tool, Lexicomp® Drug Interactions (Wolters Kluwer, Hudson, OH). Interactions were reviewed for clinical relevance: defined as a DDI that would require a medication change to ensure study agent safety and efficacy at enrollment.<h4>Results</h4>One hundred and twenty-eight subjects enrolled in 35 clinical trials were included. Protocol guidance detected 15 unique DDI pairs that should be avoided or used with caution in 10.2% (13/128) of subjects. The majority of these subjects did not have a clinically relevant DDI (69.2%, 9/13) based on pharmacist review. Lexicomp® detected moderate to major DDIs in 24.2% (31/128) of subjects, with 9.4% (12/128) having a clinically relevant DDI.<h4>Conclusions</h4>This study confirms a high prevalence of DDIs present in subjects enrolling in oncology clinical trials. Further efforts should be made to improve methods to detect and manage DDIs in patients enrolling on clinical trials to ensure patient safety and trial data validity.
Project description:<b>Background: </b>Improvements in pediatric cancer survival are attributed to cooperative clinical trials. Under-representation of specific demographic groups has been described in adult and pediatric cancer trials and poses a threat to the generalizability of results. An evaluation of data provided by the Children's Oncology Group (COG) of upfront trial enrollment for US patients 0 to 29 years old between 2004 and 2015 was performed.<br><br><b>Methods: </b>US cancer cases were estimated using incidence data and US population estimates from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program and compared to observed COG cases. Percent enrollment and standardized ratios of enrollment were calculated across demographic, disease, and socioeconomic groups. The COG website was utilized to quantify available trials and assess age eligibility.<br><br><b>Results: </b>19.9% of estimated US cancer patients age 0 to 19 years enrolled on COG trials. Younger patients were more represented across diseases and races/ethnicities. Patients with hematologic malignancies were more represented compared to solid and central nervous system (CNS) tumors.<br><br><b>Conclusion: </b>COG trial enrollment rates are declining when compared to previously published data, potentially from challenges in pediatric drug development, difficulty designing feasible trials for highly curable diagnoses, and issues ensuring trial availability for the heterogeneous group of solid and CNS tumors. Though racial/ethnic groups and county-level socioeconomic factors were proportionally represented, under representation of the adolescent/young adult (AYA) population and younger patients with solid and CNS tumors remains a concern. Targeted efforts should focus on these subgroups and further research should evaluate AYA enrollment rates across all available trials.
Project description:Adolescents and young adults (AYAs) are underrepresented in cancer clinical trials (CCTs). Limited trial enrollment slows progress in improving survival rates and prevents the collection of valuable biospecimens. A systematic literature review was conducted to assess barriers and facilitators to AYA enrollment in CCTs and to identify opportunities to improve enrollment. The PubMed MEDLINE, Web of Science, Scopus, and PsycINFO databases were searched to identify studies relevant to AYA CCT enrollment. Eligibility criteria included the qualitative and/or quantitative evaluation of barriers and facilitators to AYA enrollment. One hundred fifty-five unique publications were identified; 13 were included in the final analysis. Barriers to AYA enrollment in CCTs included a lack of existing trials applicable to the patient population, limited access to available CCTs, and a lack of physician awareness of relevant trials. Facilitators of enrollment included optimizing the research infrastructure, improving the awareness of available CCTs among providers, and enhancing communication about CCTs between providers and patients. In conclusion, the limited available research reports institution- and patient-level barriers and facilitators to AYA CCT enrollment. Because of persistent disparities in AYA enrollment, there is an urgent need to further identify the barriers and facilitators to AYA CCT enrollment to determine actionable areas for intervention.
Project description:Rare cancers account for 27% of neoplasms diagnosed each year, and 25% of cancer-related deaths in the United States. However, rare cancers show some of the highest response rates to targeted therapies, probably due to identification of oncogenic drivers with little interpatient variability. Although the low incidence of rare cancers makes large-scale randomized trials involving single histologies difficult to perform, drugs have been successfully developed in rare cancers using clinical trial designs that combine microscopic histologies. Such trials are being pursued within the National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN), which possesses unique qualifications to perform widespread molecular screening of tumors for patient enrollment onto therapeutic clinical trials. When larger clinical trials are needed to determine optimum treatment strategies in rare cancers, the NCTN's broad reach in North America and internationally, and their ability to partner with both United States-based and international research organizations, can make these challenging studies feasible.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:Older patients make up the majority of patients with pancreatic cancer, with a median age of 71?years at diagnosis. However, older patients are underrepresented in clinical trials in pancreatic cancer. This study investigates trends in age distribution of patients enrolled in clinical trials for advanced pancreatic cancer over time, and examines outcomes and toxicity in older patient subgroups from two studies conducted by Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group and American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ECOG-ACRIN) in this disease. MATERIALS AND METHODS:16,042 patients from 38 phase III clinical trials for locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma published between 1997 and 2016 were identified and included in this analysis. Outcomes and toxicity by age were examined in two of the trials, ECOG-ACRIN trials E2297 and E6201, which included a total of 1146 patients. RESULTS:The median age across the trials was 62.7?years; median ages for individual trials ranged from 57?years to 66?years. Weighted linear regression showed no significant change in median age over time. Combined analysis of the two ECOG-ACRIN trials demonstrated higher rates of fatigue, thrombocytopenia, and infection in those ?75?years compared with those <75?years, but despite this showed no difference in overall survival (OS) or progression-free survival (PFS) (OS: 5.7 vs. 5.6?months and PFS: 2.8 vs 3.5?months). CONCLUSIONS:Enrollment of older adults in phase III pancreatic cancer clinical trials has not increased over time, despite increasing number of older patients seen in clinic. Increased efforts are needed to enhance enrollment of older patients in clinical trials, and to promote trials specifically for older patients, in order to improve the evidence base for treating this patient population.
Project description:Adolescent and young adult (AYA) patients with cancer have not attained the same improvements in overall survival as either younger children or older adults. One possible reason for this disparity may be that the AYA cancers exhibit unique biologic characteristics, resulting in differences in clinical and treatment resistance behaviors. This report from the biologic component of the jointly sponsored National Cancer Institute and LiveStrong Foundation workshop entitled "Next Steps in Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology" summarizes the current status of biologic and translational research progress for 5 AYA cancers; colorectal cancer breast cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, melanoma, and sarcoma. Conclusions from this meeting included the need for basic biologic, genomic, and model development for AYA cancers as well as translational research studies to elucidate any fundamental differences between pediatric, AYA, and adult cancers. The biologic questions for future research are whether there are mutational or signaling pathway differences (for example, between adult and AYA colorectal cancer) that can be clinically exploited to develop novel therapies for treating AYA cancers and to develop companion diagnostics.