Landmark cancer clinical trials and real-world patient populations: Examining race and age reporting

Thejus Jayakrishnan, Sonikpreet Aulakh, Mizba Baksh, Kianna Nguyen, Meghna Ailawadhi, Ayesha Samreen, Ricardo Parrondo, Taimur Sher, Vivek Roy, Rami Manochakian, Aneel Paulus, Asher Chanan-Khan, Sikander Ailawadhi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Concern exists that the clinical trial populations differ from respective cancer populations in terms of their age distribution affecting the generalizability of the results, especially in underrepresented minorities. We hypothesized that the clinical trials that do not report race are likely to suffer from a higher degree of age disparity. Methods: Food and Drug Administration (FDA) drug approvals from July 2007 to June 2019 were reviewed to identify oncology approvals, and trials with age details were selected. The outcomes studied were the weighted mean difference in age between the clinical trial population and real-world population for various cancers, the prevalence of race reporting and association of age and race reporting with each other. Results: Of the 261 trials, race was reported in 223 (85.4%) of the trials, while 38 trials (14.6%) had no mention of race. Race reporting improved minimally over time: 29 (85.3%) in 2007–2010 vs. 49 (80.3%) in 2011–2014 vs. 145 (85.4%) during the period 2015–2019 (p-value = 0.41). Age discrepancy between the clinical trial population and the real-world population was higher for studies that did not report race (mean difference −8.8 years (95% CI −12.6 to −5.0 years)) vs. studies that did report it (mean difference −5.1 years, (95% CI −6.4 to −3.7 years), p-value = 0.04). Conclusion: The study demonstrates that a significant number of clinical trials leading to cancer drug approvals suffer from racial and age disparity when compared to real-world populations, and that the two factors may be interrelated. We recommend continued efforts to recruit diverse populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5770
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021


  • Age
  • Cancer
  • Clinical trials
  • Disparity
  • Race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Landmark cancer clinical trials and real-world patient populations: Examining race and age reporting'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this