The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) have announced a new collaboration to foster participation in oncology clinical trials to more fully reflect the diversity of people at risk for or living with cancer.
The joint ASCO-ACCC initiative is designed to identify and implement novel strategies and practical solutions to increase clinical trial participation of racial and ethnic minority populations that continue to be underrepresented in cancer research when compared with their percentages in the overall population of patients with cancer. Recent analyses of cancer treatment trials found that only 4% to 6% of trial participants are Black and 3% to 6% are Hispanic, whereas they represent 15% and 13% of all patients with cancer, respectively.
Lori J. Pierce, MD, FASTRO, FASCO
“We are committed to providing evidence-based high-quality cancer care to every patient, every day, everywhere,” said ASCO President Lori J. Pierce, MD, FASTRO, FASCO, who is Co-Chair of the ASCO-ACCC Steering Group overseeing this new initiative. “But, if clinical trials don’t represent the individuals we treat, including those from racial and ethnic minority populations, the state of science suffers and patients with life-threatening conditions may miss out on the best—perhaps only—treatment option for their condition. This initiative is of critical importance and we’re honored to be working with ACCC to address longstanding barriers to diversity in cancer treatment trials.”
Barriers to Diversity in Cancer Treatment Trials
The ASCO-ACCC announcement includes a call to action to the oncology community to submit novel strategies and practical solutions to increase cancer treatment trial participation and address challenges related to participation of patients from racial and ethnic minority populations, including provider bias; challenges with access, insurance coverage, and cost of care; a lack of awareness about trials; a lack of trust in the health-care system and/or clinical research; linguistic, cultural, or literacy-related issues; study design barriers; and other factors such as barriers to family and community engagement.
“We recognize that there are complex forces and systems that have created disparities in cancer research and that solving these problems will take a multifaceted integrated approach reflecting the best current thinking and expertise from the entire cancer community,” said ACCC President Randall A. Oyer, MD, who is Co-Chair of the ASCO-ACCC Steering Group. “By working together, we can significantly extend the reach of this effort and help ensure that we pursue promising strategies that have a lasting and meaningful impact.”
The ASCO-ACCC Request for Ideas (RFI) seeks novel strategies and practical solutions to increase participation of underrepresented racial and ethnic populations in cancer treatment trials. The ASCO-ACCC Steering Group will review and select ideas that may be modified, combined, implemented, and evaluated by ASCO and ACCC.
Criteria used to review and prioritize proposed ideas will include the potential to address racial and ethnic disparities in cancer treatment trials, replicability of the strategy, and indications that the submitter has demonstrated a commitment to equitable cancer care, among others. Individuals who submit ideas will be given an opportunity to work on the idea implementation, if interested.
The RFI is open for participation now through August 24, 2020.