In our review of cancer research, one group does not receive enough attention. Hence, we now examine older adults underrepresented in cancer research.


Gaps in Analysis: Older Adults Underrepresented in Cancer Research

For this discussion, we turn to a great new article in the New England Journal of Medicine by Monica M. Bertagnolli and Harpreet Singh. 

Some highlights:

Eliminating inequities in health care is an important priority. One persistent inequity involves the lack of data to guide cancer care for older adults. Clinical trials provide the strongest foundation for acquiring such data. However, an analysis by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that only 24% of patients enrolled in trials supporting oncology-drug approvals were 70 years of age or older. As compared with the 42% of such patients in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database. Of those eligible to receive the treatments after they were approved. Most trials also had exclusion criteria preventing all but the fittest older adults from participating.

Yet, roughly one in four patients with the most common cancers is older than 75. This growing population missed  care improvements that could stem from clinical research. A concern discussed at a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine workshop. Convened to discuss the topic in January 2021.

The three-part workshop was convened by the National Cancer Policy Forum. In collaboration with the Forum on Drug Discovery, Development, and Translation, and the Forum on Aging, Disability, and Independence.

To access the NEJM article, click the next image.

Older Adults Underrepresented in Cancer Research

For entry to the January 2021 workshop Web site, click here. In the following video, we show the 10-minute overview from YouTube.


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