Race, ethnicity vary in radiation therapy trials

By AuntMinnie.com staff writers

October 29, 2020 -- Asian Americans are underrepresented in U.S. radiation therapy clinical trials relative to population size, while Black Americans are nearly on par, according to a study presented on October 27 at the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) annual meeting.

The study evaluated racial composition using figures from 122 trials listed on the ClinicalTrials.gov website with completed enrollment and compared what they found with U.S. census data.

Researchers found that Asian Americans accounted for almost 2.9% of patients studied in U.S. radiation therapy trials, whereas they make up 5.6% of the population, a statistically significant difference. Black Americans accounted for 11.8% in trials, which is similar to 12.7% of their representation in the population.

Representation in radiation therapy trials vs. general population by race*
Race 2018 U.S. Census U.S. trials All trials
White 72.2% 84.8% 84.4%
Black 12.7% 11.8% 12.1%
Asian 5.6% 2.9% 2.8%
Other 9.5% 0.5% 0.7%
Source: Bero et al, ASTRO 2020. *Figures have been rounded.

Other races are underrepresented in trials, but breakdowns were not available. More work is needed to ensure the inclusion of underrepresented racial/ethnic groups in trials, researchers concluded.

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