Two new original contributions in the Journal of Oncology Practice (JOP) highlight how National Cancer Institute (NCI) programs have impacted clinical trial enrollment.
The first1 looked at the pilot phase of the NCI’s Community Cancer Centers Program (NCCCP) and found that trial availability and accrual improved at a faster rate for NCCCP sites as compared to national trends. The authors also found that enrollment increased for racial and ethnic minorities and patients over the age of 65.
The second2 focuses on the NCI’s Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP) and the consistently poor enrollment rates of adolescents and young adults in clinical trials, which the authors stated partly attribute to the stagnant outcomes for adolescents and young adults with cancer.
The article illustrates that significant barriers still exist to increasing participation of young adults in trials, even within NCI programs. Despite these findings, the authors believe that this NCI CCOP program (now the NCI Community Oncology Research Program, or NCORP), which is designed to improve trial participation in the community setting, has the capacity to make a positive change to increase accrual of young adults to clinical trials.
Considering 43.5% of NCORP sites have combined adult and pediatric sites, this network is now well positioned to design and test interventions that target and increase recruitment of young adults moving forward. Additional potential measures for change include enhancing physician awareness of low enrollment of young adults, coordinated recruitment between pediatric and medical oncology, and community outreach.
These articles demonstrate how national funding and targeted programs bring more clinical trials to community practices, which involve a greater number of participants and have the capacity to include diverse groups of participants. ■
1. Hirsch BR, Locke SC, Abernethy AP: Experience of the National Cancer Institute Community Cancer Centers Program on community-based cancer clinical trials activity. J Oncol Pract. 12:e350-e358, 2016.
© 2016. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.