Contemp Clin Trials Commun 2018 Mar 31;9:135-142. Epub 2018 Jan 31.
Fox Chase Cancer Center, Temple University Health System, 333 Cottman Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19111, USA.
Background: Increasing diversity in clinical trials may be worthwhile. We examined clinical trials that restricted eligibility to a single race or ethnicity.
Methods: We reviewed 19,246 trials registered on ClinicalTrials.gov through January 2013. We mapped trial ZIP-codes to U.S. Census and American Community Survey data. The outcome was whether trials required participants to be from a single racial or ethnic group.
Results: In adjusted analyses, the odds of trials restricting eligibility to a single race/ethnicity increased by 4% per year (95% CI 1.01-1.08, p = .024). Behavioral (5.79% with single race/ethnicity requirements), skin-related (4.49%), and Vitamin D (6.14%) studies had higher rates of single race/ethnicity requirements. Many other trial-specific characteristics, such as funding agency and region of the U.S. in which the trial opened, were associated with eligibility restrictions. In terms of neighborhood characteristics, studies with single race eligibility requirements were more likely to be located in ZIP-codes with greater percentages of those self-reporting the characteristic. For example, 35.2% (SD = 24.9%) of the population self-reported themselves as Black or African American in ZIP-codes with trials requiring participants to be Black/African American, but only 5.9% (SD = 6.9%) self-reported themselves as Black/African American in ZIP-codes with trials that required Asian ethnicity. In ZIP-codes with trials requiring Asian ethnicity, 24.6% (SD = 16.2%) self-reported as Asian. In ZIP-codes with trials requiring Hispanic/Latino ethnicity, 33.3% (SD = 28.5%) self-reported as Hispanic/Latino. Neighborhood level poverty rates and reduced English language ability were also associated with more single race eligibility requirements.
Conclusions: In selected fields, there has been a modest temporal increase in single race/ethnicity inclusion requirements. Some studies may not fall under regulatory purview and hence may be less likely to include diverse samples. Conversely, some eligibility requirements may be related to health disparities research. Future work should examine whether targeted enrollment criteria facilitates development of personalized medicine or reduces trial access.