Race-Ethnic Enrollment Disparities over 15 Years of Alliance/CALGB Acute Myeloid Leukemia Clinical Trials, Biobanks, and Correlative Science Protocols


Introduction: Race-ethnic disparities in clinical trial enrollment have the potential to bias findings, limit generalizability, misdirect drug development, and reduce equitable access to novel therapy. The degree to which such disparities exist within acute myeloid leukemia (AML) North American cooperative group trials, biobanks, and correlative studies remain unclear, as are the factors that influence biobank and correlative study participation among trial enrollees. In addition, the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) mandate for Comprehensive Cancer Centers (CCC) to designate catchment areas has not been explored as a mechanism through which AML enrollment disparities can be addressed.

Methods: We analyzed enrollment data from the 9 Alliance/CALGB AML treatment trials, 2 biobank protocols, and 2 correlative studies active from 1998-2013 and with published results. Trial enrollees could consent to biobank and/or correlative study participation. We compared participation rates of United States (US) enrollees for the mutually exclusive racial-ethnic groups of non-Hispanic (NH)-white, NH-Black, NH-Asian, NH-Native American, and Hispanic using X2 testing, with NH-white as the comparator and reporting odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Rates were adjusted by national incidence according to the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program and the US Census. Testing was repeated for the 55% of participants enrolled at 15 NCI CCCs recruiting ≥10 patients, where incidence was adjusted for catchment area size and demographics. Logistic regression models, clustered by trial, were performed to assess the following predictors for biobank and correlative study participation among trial enrollees: race-ethnicity (NH-white vs non-white), site type (CCC status), age (10-year increments), sex, neighborhood urbanity (urban vs rural) and poverty (<20% vs ≥20% below poverty line) by zip code, and distance from site (10-mile increments).

Results: There were 3041 trial enrollees at US sites; participant characteristics and demographics by race-ethnicity are shown in Table 1. 93.9% of patients participated in a biobanking study and 60.0% in a correlative study. National incidence adjusted enrollment odds by race-ethnicity are shown in the Figure (top); NH-Black, NH-Asian, and Hispanic persons were enrolled at significantly lower rates than NH-whites; NH-Native American enrollment was significantly higher. Enrollment odds were even lower for NH-Black, NH-Asian, and Hispanic enrollees at CCC sites when adjusted by catchment area incidence (Figure; bottom). Among trial enrollees, there were no univariable predictors of biobank participation, however, male sex (OR 1.12; 95% CI 1.01, 1.37; p=0.04) and NH-white race-ethnicity (OR 1.33; 95% CI 1.12,1.57; p<0.001) were associated with correlative study participation. Multivariable models of correlative study participation, with predictors selected based on univariable significance, are shown in Table 2 for all trial enrollees and when restricted to biobank enrollees; in both cases, NH-white race predicted participation.

Conclusions: Across 15 years of AML cooperative group studies, there were several enrollment disparities by race-ethnicity, which were more pronounced at CCC sites. Over 90% of trial enrollees participated in biobanking, with no race-ethnic differences seen. However, correlative study participation among trial enrollees was higher for NH-whites. Taken together, these data suggest that efforts should focus on increasing trial and correlative study participant diversity—but not biobanking—within NCI-designated CCC catchment areas. Reasonable next steps include identifying key structural, provider, and patient-based barriers to trial and correlative study participation at CCC sites and developing inclusive, multilevel interventions to address them.