A New FDA Tool Aims to Inform Cancer Care, But Experts Say It Has a Glaring Gap

June 30, 2020

(STAT News) – “I would anticipate the patient-reported outcomes might differ by ethnic group, by age, by employment status,” said Rob Carlson, an oncologist and chief executive of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, a nonprofit alliance of cancer centers. “Those sorts of demographic information would be very important in trying to interpret.” The lack of demographic data is of particular concern, given long-standing disparities in clinical trials. A 2018 analysis of FDA data by ProPublica found that, in the vast majority of trials for cancer drugs approved since 2015, fewer than 5% of patients were Black, despite the fact that Black individuals make up about 13% of the U.S. population.