Research Documents a Significant Lack of Racial Diversity in Cancer Clinical Trials

According to a new study led by a researcher at the University of British Columbia, there is a lack of racial and ethnic diversity in clinical trials for cancer drugs. Other authors of the study are scholars from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, Washington, and Baylor University in Texas.

The research team examined data from all reported trials supporting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration oncology drug approvals granted between July 2008 and June 2018. They scrutinized 230 trials with a total of 112,293 patients. They calculated the U.S. population-based cancer estimates by race using National Cancer Institute and U.S. Census data.

The results found that between 2008 and 2018, fewer than 8 percent of cancer drug trials reported participation by White, Asian, Black, and Hispanic Americans. Black and Hispanic patients were the most underrepresented at 22 percent and 44 percent, respectively, considering their populations’ incidence of cancer. The researchers also found that reporting about race in trials and enrollment rates changed minimally over the 10 years.

“Our findings show that the science might not be applicable to the population that’s going to receive the medications,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Jonathan Loree, assistant professor in the department of medicine at the University of British Columbia and a medical oncologist with the British Columbia Cancer Agency in Vancouver, Canada. “If patients are going to be receiving the drug, we need to know that it’s going to work for them with the same effectiveness that’s seen in the trial.”

The full study, “Disparity of Race Reporting and Representation in Clinical Trials Leading to Cancer Drug Approvals From 2008 to 2018,” was published on the website of the journal JAMA Oncology. It may be accessed here.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Three African Americans Appointed to New Academic Positions

Leon Prieto, Kofi Afrifah, and Andrea Moore have been appointed to new academic positions at Clayton University, Bowie State University, and Savannah State University, respectively.

Historic HBCU Landmark Revitalized Through National Park Service Grant

Through three restoration grants totaling $2 million, the Rosenwald Practice School and Principal House will be fully restored, becoming the new home for the Northeastern North Carolina African American Research and Cultural Heritage Institute.

Five Black Leaders Appointed to Administrative Positions

Here is this week’s roundup of African American who have been appointed to new administrative positions at colleges and universities throughout the United States. If you have news for our appointments section, please email the information to

North Carolina A&T University Establishes Research Partnership with Collins Aerospace

“There are direct relations to the research we do in the College of Engineering and the mission purpose of Collins Aerospace,” said Stephanie Luster-Teasley, interim dean of the College of Engineering at North Carolina A&T State University. “Being able to partner with Collins really gives our students the opportunities for hands-on research at each level – undergraduate and graduate.”

Featured Jobs