Study Finds No Reason for Cancer Survivors to Be Excluded in Advanced Stage Lung Cancer Trials

“The common practice of excluding patients with a prior cancer diagnosis from lung cancer clinical trials may not be justified, according to a study by researchers from UT Southwestern Medical Center.

“Having previously had cancer did not impact clinical outcomes in advanced lung cancer patients and these patients therefore should be considered for inclusion in clinical trials seeking new therapies, according to the study, appearing in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

” ‘When it comes to clinical trial eligibility, a history of prior cancer should not count against you,’ said senior author Dr. David Gerber, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine in the Division of Hematology and Oncology in the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center. ‘For patients with advanced lung cancer, previous cancer does not adversely affect survival, regardless of the type, stage, or timing of the prior cancer.’ “

Patients With Prior Cancer Excluded From Most Lung Cancer Trials

The gist: Lung cancer patients who have previously had cancer are excluded from most clinical trials testing new lung cancer treatments.

“In a study reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Gerber et al found that patients with prior cancer were excluded from most clinical trials in lung cancer, including nearly all with overall survival as a primary endpoint.

“The study involved review of data from 51 lung cancer clinical trials (total target enrollment, 13,072 patients) sponsored or endorsed by the Eastern Oncology Cooperative Group. Prevalence of prior primary cancer diagnoses among lung cancer patients was estimated using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare linked database…

“Overall, 41 trials (80%) excluded patients with prior cancer diagnosis, including any prior diagnosis (14%), diagnosis within 5 years (43%), diagnosis within 2 to 3 years (7%), and diagnosis of active cancer (16%). In SEER-Medicare data on 210,509 lung cancer patients, 56% of prior cancers were diagnosed within 5 years before lung cancer diagnosis. The estimated proportion of patients excluded from lung cancer trials due to prior cancer diagnosis ranged from 0% to 18%.”