TUESDAY, June 23, 2020 (HealthDay News) — African-Americans are underrepresented in clinical trials leading to approval of cancer medications, according to a research letter published online June 23 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Samer Al Hadidi, M.D., from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and colleagues assessed enrollment of African-American persons in trials supporting 75 new oncologic drug approvals from 2014 to 2018.

The researchers found that during the study period, 7.44 percent of 61,763 patients enrolled in clinical trials that resulted in subsequent U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for cancer drugs were African-American. The participation-to-prevalence ratio (PPR) for participation of African-Americans in clinical trials that led to drug approval for all types of cancer combined was 0.31. Across major cancer subtypes, underrepresentation of African-Americans was consistent, including for breast cancer (PPR, 0.29), prostate cancer (PPR, 0.18), lung cancer (PPR, 0.15), and hematologic cancer (PPR, 0.12).

“We believe that this discrepancy results in failed opportunities to understand cancer biology and the pharmacology of cancer medications,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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