In the United States, Europe, and Australia, and probably all countries of the world, older adolescents and young adults with cancer are under-represented in clinical trials of therapies that could improve their outcome. Simultaneously, the survival and mortality rates in these patients have mirrored the clinical trial accrual pattern, with little improvement compared with younger and older patients. This suggests that the relative lack of participation of adolescent and young adult patients in clinical trials has lessened their chances for as good an outcome as that enjoyed by patients in other age groups. Thus, increased availability of and participation in clinical trials is of paramount important if the current deficits in outcome in young adults and older adolescents are to be eliminated. Regardless of whether there is a causal relationship, the impact of low clinical trial activity on furthering our scientific knowledge and management of cancer during adolescence and early adulthood is detrimental.
Copyright 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.