Disparities in older adult accrual to cancer trials: Analysis from the alliance for clinical trials in oncology (A151736)

Noam A. VanderWalde, Travis Dockter, Daniel V. Wakefield, Daniel Satele, Jeff Sloan, Reshma Jagsi, Stuart M. Lichtman, Rachel A. Freedman, Jacqueline M. Lafky, Hyman Muss, Harvey Jay Cohen, Jennifer Le-Rademacher, Aminah Jatoi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Older adults are under-represented in cancer clinical trials. However, it remains unclear which types of trials under-enroll aging patients. We aimed to identify associations between trial characteristics and disparate enrollment of older adults onto trials sponsored by the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology (Alliance). Methods: Actual age ≥ 65 percentage and trial data were extracted from the Alliance closed study list. Each trial, based on its cancer type and years of enrollment, was assigned an expected age ≥ 65 percentage extracted from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) US population-based database. Enrollment disparity difference (EDD), the difference between the expected age ≥ 65 percentage and the actual age ≥ 65 percentage, was calculated for each trial. Linear regression determined trial variables associated with larger EDDs and variables with an overall association p-value <0.20 were included in a multivariable fixed-effects linear model. Results: The median age of 66,708 patients across 237 trials was 60 years (range 18–102). The average actual age ≥ 65 percentage enrolled per trial was lower than each trial's expected age ≥ 65 percentage average (39% vs. 58%; EDD 19, 95% CI 17.1–21.3%, p < 0.0001). In multivariable analyses, non-genitourinary (GU) cancer types (p < 0.001), trimodality+ trials (estimate 8.78, 95%CI 2.21–15.34, p = 0.009), and phase 2 trials (estimate 4.43 95% CI -0.06-8.91; p = 0.05) were all associated with larger EDDs. Conclusions: Disparate enrollment of older adults is not equal across cancer trials. Future strategies to improve older adult inclusion should focus on trial types associated with the highest disparate enrollment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-26
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Geriatric Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • Cancer
  • Clinical trials
  • Enrollment
  • Older adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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