Impact of Race, Age, and Socioeconomic Status on Participation in Pancreatic Cancer Clinical Trials

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Over 18 years, 7 phase 2 trials in advanced pancreatic cancer (APC) were conducted at Karmanos Cancer Institute (KCI). We sought factors that influenced the selection of patients for clinical trials and explored differences in overall survival (OS) of patients treated on clinical trials versus standard of care.


The target population was patients with APC diagnosed between January 1, 1986, and December 31, 2003. Patients were divided into 3 mutually exclusive groups: treated on clinical trials at KCI (t-KCI), treated at KCI but not on a clinical trial (KCI), or treated at non-KCI institutions (n-KCI).


Eight thousand two hundred thirty patients met study criteria: 6470 n-KCI, 1642 KCI, and 118 t-KCI. Significant differences were observed across the 3 groups with respect to age, race, stage, grade, and socioeconomic status. Median OS was higher in t-KCI (8.5 months) than in KCI (5.0 months) or n-KCI (2.8 months) and could not be accounted for by variations in baseline characteristics.


Patients enrolled on clinical trials were younger, had better socioeconomic status, and were less often African American. Patients with APC treated at academic institutions may have longer OS than patients treated in the community. Clinical trials seem to offer a survival advantage for patients with APC.

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