Availability of clinical trials in the gynecologic cancer care space are increasing, but it is important to be mindful of current racial disparities.
Clinical trial participation was associated with improved overall survival (OS) compared to not participating in a trial among women with platinum-resistant epithelial ovarian cancer, according to study results presented at the Society of Gynecologic Oncology 2023 Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer.
The study was a retrospective, single-institution cohort study with data from 2009 to 2017. Patients with epithelial ovarian cancer were divided into 2 cohorts: 46 clinical trial participants and 259 participants who received standard of care therapy.
The 2 groups had no differences in age, body mass index, race, medical comorbidities, and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status. Additionally, there was no difference in poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor use, bevacizumab, or intraperitoneal chemotherapy use among the 2 groups, although those who had participated in clinical trials were exposed to a greater number of therapy lines compared to those who had not participated.
After analysis, the researchers found that participating in clinical trials was associated with significantly improved OS of 13.8 months compared to those who had not participated in clinical trials, who had a median OS of 10.5 months.
“Effective treatment options for platinum resistant ovarian cancer are limited, and our data underscores the importance of clinical trial access for all patients with this condition to improve patient outcomes,” Morton said in a press release. “Better understanding of the benefits of clinical trial participation may lead to improved counseling and enrollment, and further study of individual provider and patient barriers to engagement with clinical trials is critical to advancing patient care.”
Availability and participation in clinical trials in the gynecologic cancer care space are increasing, but the investigators noted that it is important to be mindful of current racial disparities. Research funding allocations must also be designed to address disparities.
One earlier study assessed National Cancer Institute funding allocations between 2011 and 2018 for differences in lethality by race for female reproductive cancers, including female breast, uterine, ovarian, and cervical cancers. Investigators found that the funding to lethality score was lowest for Black individuals with uterine cancer, whereas the highest funding to lethality score was for White individuals with breast cancer.
“Research is an important tool to ameliorate disparities,” said study investigator Linda Zambrano Guevera, MS, in the press release. “Gynecologic cancers are significantly underfunded compared to other types of malignancies, which is particularly alarming given stark disparities.”
Clinical Trial Participation Associated With Improved Overall Survival in Ovarian Cancer Patients. News release. Society of Gynecologic Oncology. March 25, 2023. Accessed April 6, 2023.