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Adv Cancer Res. 2017;133:77-94. doi: 10.1016/bs.acr.2016.08.004. Epub 2016 Oct 5.

Applying a Conceptual Framework to Maximize the Participation of Diverse Populations in Cancer Clinical Trials.

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University of California, San Francisco, CA, United States.
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, United States.
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, United States.
Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, United States.
Hollings Cancer Center, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, United States. Electronic address:


The underrepresentation of ethnically diverse populations in cancer clinical trials results in the inequitable distribution of the risks and benefits of this research. Using a case study approach, we apply a conceptual framework of factors associated with the participation of diverse population groups in cancer clinical trials developed by Dr. Jean Ford and colleagues to increase understanding of the specific strategies, and barriers and promoters addressed by these strategies, that resulted in marked success in accrual of racially and ethnically diverse populations in cancer clinical research. Results indicate that the studies presented were able to successfully engage minority participants due to the creation and implementation of multilevel, multifaceted strategies that included: culturally and linguistically appropriate outreach, education, and research studies that were accessible in local communities; infrastructure to support engagement of key stakeholders, clinicians, and organizations serving minority communities; testimonials by ethnically diverse cancer survivors; availability of medical interpretation services; and providing infrastructure that facilitated the engagement in clinical research of clinicians who care for minority patient populations. These strategic efforts were effective in addressing limited awareness of trials, lack of opportunities to participate, and acceptance of engagement in cancer clinical trials. Careful attention to the context and population characteristics in which cancer clinical trials are conducted will be necessary to address disparities in research participation and cancer outcomes. These studies illustrate that progress on minority accrual into clinical research requires intentional efforts to overcome barriers at all three stages of the accrual process: awareness, opportunity, and acceptance of participation.


Cancer clinical trials; Conceptual framework; Diverse populations; Recruitment

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