A Comparison of Clinical Trial Enrollment Between Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Oncology Patients Treated at Affiliated Adult and Pediatric Oncology Centers

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Abstract

Purpose

Over the past 30 years, there has been a dramatic increase in the survival rates of younger pediatric cancer patients in contrast to adolescent and young adult (AYA) oncology patients. The reasons for this discrepancy are multifactorial, but it is clear that clinical trial enrollment correlates with better outcomes.

Patients and Methods

We examined the rate of clinical trial accrual of AYA oncology patients (aged 15 to 22 y) treated at affiliated pediatric and adult cancer centers, the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. We retrospectively analyzed all new cancer diagnoses and clinical trial enrollment status between 2003 and 2006 for AYA patients at both institutions.

Results

There were 91 new AYA cancer diagnoses at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, of which 24 (26%) were enrolled on a clinical trial. During the same time period, only 5 of 121 new AYA cancer patients (4%) at University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute were enrolled on a clinical trial, which was significantly lower (P<0.001).

Conclusions

Our data demonstrate that clinical trial enrollment was superior when AYA patients were treated at a pediatric cancer center. As most AYA patients are not treated at pediatric centers, this may partly explain why their cure rates have not improved as significantly as younger pediatric oncology patients.

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