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Keywords:

  • adolescent;
  • young adult;
  • clinical trial;
  • oncology

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Since 1975, there has been a dramatic increase in the survival rates of pediatric and older cancer patients, but adolescent and young adult (AYA) patients ages 15 to 40 years have not had a similar improvement. Data indicate a direct correlation between increased cure rates and clinical trial enrollment.

METHODS:

The authors previously published data indicating inferior clinical trial enrollment when AYA patients were treated at an adult oncology center versus a pediatric oncology center. To address this deficit, a joint pediatric and adult AYA Oncology Program was established in July 2006 with the primary objective of improving outcomes by increasing therapeutic clinical trial enrollment in this population. Patients who were referred to that program from July 2006 through June 2010 were examined retrospectively to establish whether clinical trial enrollment increased compared with historic controls.

RESULTS:

Fifty-seven patients were referred to the program from 2006 to 2010 (range, 12-16 new patients per year). Eight patients were referred for consultation only and were not treated at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute or Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. Five of 22 patients (23%) who received treatment at the pediatric cancer center were enrolled onto a clinical trial, whereas 9 of 27 patients (33%) patients who received treatment at the adult cancer center were enrolled. There was superior trial participation compared with the previous 3 years for those shared AYA patients who were treated at the adult center (P < .001).

CONCLUSIONS:

Data from this study demonstrated that establishing a unified AYA oncology program can lead to improved clinical trial enrollment for patients who are treated at medical oncology centers. Cancer 2012;3614–3617. © 2011 American Cancer Society.