ASCO issued landmark recommendations in the Journal of Clinical Oncology calling for federal agencies and the cancer research community to broaden clinical trials to include older adults (age 65 and older) and to redefine trial eligibility.
More than 60% of cancers in the United States occur in older adults, a population that will grow exponentially over the coming years. Yet the evidence base for treating older adults is sparse because they are underrepresented in clinical trials, and trials designed specifically for them are rare.
ASCO’s recommendations include asking regulatory agencies, research funders, and researchers to consider whether the evidence supports eligibility criteria based on age, performance status, or comorbid conditions—three primary reasons older adults are excluded from clinical trials. Researchers should also adopt innovative trial designs that would fill knowledge gaps in the treatment of older adults with cancer.
ASCO plans to organize a public meeting to advance the issues raised in its position statement in the fall of 2016. ■
© 2015. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.