BACKGROUND: Over the last 30 years significant strides have been made in cure rates for children with cancer, but these improvements have not been seen in adolescents and young adults. The reasons for this lack of progress are multifactorial, but it is clear greater cure rates are correlated with controlled clinical trials. Our objective was to see if pediatric patients over the age of 15 had a lower rate of clinical trial enrollment, and if so, why. METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed the clinical data on all patients with new oncology diagnoses at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh (CHP) diagnosed over a 5-year period from July 2001 to June 2006. RESULTS: Six hundred and forty new oncology patients were seen at CHP over this time, 501 under 15 years old and 139 patients aged 15 to 22. Thirty-six percent of all patients were treated on a clinical trial, including 38% of the younger patients and 27% of the older patients (P=0.03). Fifty-seven percent in the older group were not enrolled on a clinical trial because one was not available versus 41% in the younger group (P=0.04). There were no significant differences between the age groups when other reasons were analyzed. CONCLUSIONS: A significantly lower proportion of adolescents and young adults patients (aged 15 to 22) were placed on a treatment trial than younger patients. The lack of an open clinical trial was the main reason for this deficit. Interventions to address this discrepancy need to be instituted on a national level.
- Clinical trials
- Young adult
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health