Modernizing Clinical Trial Eligibility: Recommendations of the American Society of Clinical Oncology-Friends of Cancer Research Minimum Age Working Group

J Clin Oncol. 2017 Nov 20;35(33):3781-3787. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2017.74.4144. Epub 2017 Oct 2.


Purpose Children have historically been excluded from first-in-human studies of promising new cancer drugs and later phase adult clinical trials. Delays in evaluation may result in off-label use without dosing information as the only access to new drugs. A multistakeholder workshop was convened in May 2016 by ASCO and Friends of Cancer Research to identify opportunities for when it would be scientifically appropriate to expand trial eligibility to include children younger than age 18 years in first-in-human and other adult cancer clinical trials. Methods This group convened experts from academia, government, and industry to review barriers to enrolling children and adolescents in oncology clinical trials. We evaluated the historical context, published literature, regulatory considerations, and myriad risks and benefits associated with lowering the age of enrollment on oncology clinical trials. Results We conclude that many of the historical concerns about including children early in oncology clinical trials do not apply in the current scientific and clinical environment of pediatric oncology and drug development; we provide specific recommendations for how the inclusion of children in early-phase investigational cancer drug trials might be accomplished. Automatic inclusion of pediatric patients is appropriate in early-phase trials that assess dose, safety, and pharmacokinetics in a variety of tumor types and later phase trials that assess efficacy in a specific disease that spans adult and pediatric populations. Conclusion Including children in appropriately designed adult clinical oncology trials is feasible and can be done in a way that enhances their access to these agents without compromising safety or development strategies.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Biomedical Research / methods*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic*
  • Humans
  • Medical Oncology / methods*
  • United States