Expanding Access to Lung Cancer Clinical Trials by Reducing the Use of Restrictive Exclusion Criteria: Perspectives of a Multistakeholder Working Group

Clin Lung Cancer. 2020 Jul;21(4):295-307. doi: 10.1016/j.cllc.2020.02.008. Epub 2020 Feb 26.


Low rates of adult patient participation have been a persistent problem in cancer clinical trials and have continued to be a barrier to efficient drug development. The routine use of significant exclusion criteria has contributed to this problem by limiting participation in studies and creating significant clinical differences between the study cohorts and the real-world cancer patient populations. These routine exclusions also unnecessarily restrict opportunities for many patients to access potentially promising new therapies during clinical development. Multiple efforts are underway to broaden eligibility criteria, allowing more patients to enroll in studies and generating more robust data regarding the effect of novel therapies in the population at large. Focusing specifically on lung cancer as an example, a multistakeholder working group empaneled by the LUNGevity Foundation identified 14 restrictive and potentially outdated exclusion criteria that appear frequently in lung cancer clinical trials. As a part of the project, the group evaluated data from multiple recent lung cancer studies to ascertain the extent to which these 14 criteria appeared in study protocols and played a role in excluding patients (screen failures). The present report describes the working group's efforts to limit the use of these routine exclusions and presents clinical justifications for reducing the use of 14 criteria as routine exclusions in lung cancer studies, potentially expanding trial eligibility and improving the generalizability of the results from lung cancer trials.

Keywords: Cancer clinical trials; Eligibility criteria; Expanded access; Non–small-cell lung cancer; Small-cell lung cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic / methods*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / standards*
  • Eligibility Determination / standards*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Lung Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Patient Selection*
  • Stakeholder Participation*