Medical News and Perspectives
July 2, 2003

Too Few Older Patients in Cancer Trials

JAMA. 2003;290(1):27-28. doi:10.1001/jama.290.1.27

Although the majority of cancer patients in the United States are aged 65 years or older, research is showing such older adults are markedly underrepresented in trials of cancer therapies.

Older adults make up 63% of US cancer patients but comprise only 25% of participants in clinical cancer treatment trials. This underrepresentation continues to affect research results and patient care, researchers say.

The problem is not new. But despite the fact that awareness of the imbalance and suggestions for correction have appeared for years (N Engl J Med. 1999;341:2061-2067), the disproportionate lack of older patients in clinical cancer trials persists .

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