publication date: Sep. 6, 2019

Clinical Roundup

Health insurance, ZIP code matters when it comes to benefiting from cancer trials

Cancer patients who enroll in a clinical trial and have no health insurance, or are enrolled in Medicaid may not get the same benefits of successful trial treatments that other cancer patients do.

Results from a separate study show that patients from socioeconomically deprived areas appear to have worse outcomes than their counterparts, even when treated on clinical trials with access to guideline-based cancer care.

Both studies were conducted by SWOG Cancer Research Network.  Both studies were also led by Joseph Unger, a health services researcher and biostatistician for SWOG at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and an expert on health disparities in cancer clinical trials.

One study, the subject of a Sept. 6 oral presentation at the ASCO meeting, is the first to show a connection between insurance status and patient benefit in cancer clinical trials.

Gauging the influence of insurance status can be difficult because of the size of any given trial. So Unger analyzed data from 19 SWOG trials—large randomized phase III trials that enrolled a total of 11,026 patients. Treatments tested in the trials targeted a variety of cancers, from breast to lung to prostate, and proved to have a statistically significant overall survival benefit to participants. SWOG sites in both the NCI’s Community Oncology Research Program and its National Clinical Trials Network enrolled participants in the trials.

In cancer trials, overall survival is defined as how long a participant lives after they receive treatment, a measure of the efficacy of new interventions using drugs, surgery, or radiation. Unger wanted to determine whether … Continue reading Health insurance, ZIP code matters when it comes to benefiting from cancer trials

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