Enrollment of Black Participants in Pivotal Clinical Trials Supporting US Food and Drug Administration Approval of Chimeric Antigen Receptor-T Cell Therapy for Hematological Malignant Neoplasms

JAMA Netw Open. 2022 Apr 1;5(4):e228161. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.8161.


Importance: Disparities that affect Black persons with various hematological malignant neoplasms are substantial, yet little is known about disparities related to the use of US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved chimeric antigen receptor-T cell (CAR-T) therapy.

Objective: To examine the enrollment of Black participants in clinical trials that resulted in a subsequent FDA approval of CAR-T products in hematological malignant neoplasms.

Design, setting, and participants: A cross-sectional study was performed using publicly available data on drug products and demographic subgroups from Drugs@fda in the period of August 2017 to May 2021. Data analysis included patients with large B cell lymphoma, follicular lymphoma, mantle cell lymphoma, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and multiple myeloma who were enrolled into 7 clinical trials that investigated various CAR-T products. The study was conducted from July 1, 2021, to November 30, 2021.

Main outcomes and measures: Frequencies of participation of Black participants were calculated with adjustment for disease prevalence.

Results: Of the 1057 enrolled patients included in the study, CAR-T products were given to 746 patients (71%), and efficacy was reported for 729 enrolled patients (69%) across all the approved CAR-T products and indications. Most patients (1015 patients [96%]) were enrolled in the US. Black participants were included in the racial category other in the study that supported tisagenlecleucel approval in acute lymphoblastic leukemia; otherwise, their enrollment was specified either in the study publication and/or the demographic subgroup information available under the FDA product labeling information. The number of Black participants who received the CAR-T product and had reported efficacy varied between studies (range, 1-12 participants [2%-5%]). Adjusted prevalence measures showed the lowest participation to prevalence ratio of 0.2 for multiple myeloma and 0.6 for large B cell lymphoma.

Conclusions and relevance: The findings of this study suggest that there are substantial disparities affecting Black patients across all approved CAR-T products used to treat hematological malignant neoplasms with otherwise limited effective treatment options. The study findings might aid policy discussions regarding the immediate need of regulations that enforce certain thresholds of Black patients' enrollment before granting FDA approval.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Black or African American*
  • Cell- and Tissue-Based Therapy*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Drug Approval*
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Hematologic Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Hematologic Neoplasms* / ethnology
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse / drug therapy
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse / ethnology
  • Multiple Myeloma / drug therapy
  • Multiple Myeloma / ethnology
  • Patient Participation*
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / drug therapy
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / ethnology
  • Receptors, Chimeric Antigen / therapeutic use
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration


  • Receptors, Chimeric Antigen