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National Cancer Institute (NCI) implementation of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and Friends of Cancer Research (Friends) broadening clinical trials eligibility criteria


Conference Proceedings

Denicoff, A.M.; Ivy, P.; Worthington, K.H.; Zhao, J.; Seibel, N.; Mishkin, G.E.; Mooney, M.M.; Little, R.F.

ASCO Annual Meeting 2021


Background: The 2017 ASCO/Friends eligibility criteria guidelines recommend inclusiveness to promote generalizable trial results and clear rationale for necessary exclusion. These guidelines focused on brain metastases, minimum age for enrollment, HIV infection, and organ dysfunction and prior and concurrent malignancies. In September 2018, the NCI Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program (CTEP) implemented modernized protocol template language to operationalize these criteria. We evaluated utilization of the new language among CTEP-sponsored treatment trials. Methods: We evaluated protocols first approved by CTEP between 11/01/2018 and 4/30/2020. The most recent approved protocol version was evaluated for consistency with the new template language for brain metastases, HIV infection, prior or concurrent malignancies, minimum age, and cardiac, liver and kidney function. If a particular criterion was not relevant for a trial, it was not included in the analysis. We did not score age in pediatric or adult-specific trials (e.g. prostate). Results: 122 trials (71% early and 29% late phase) were identified and included in the analysis. Compliance with the new criteria language ranged from a high of 87.7% for liver function to a low of 11.5% for “new or progressive brain metastases” (table). Modernized criteria language was lacking in nearly 46% of trials in the use of concurrent or prior malignancy criteria and 31% of trials for the cardiac criteria. Of the 87 trials for non-localized disease or non-brain tumor trials, 64.4% did not address brain metastases, leaving it to investigator discretion. Thus, 75.9% of trials could theoretically enroll patients with brain metastases. Only 6 trials were considered relevant for patients < 18 years old; 50% were consistent with the age criterion (not shown in table). Conclusions: Implementing ASCO/Friends eligibility criteria requires focused reviews during protocol development to ensure compliance. CTEP is using these findings to continue to improve its protocol review processes to broaden eligibility in clinical trials. Maximizing opportunities for diverse populations to participate in trials is a priority for the National Cancer Institute and CTEP will continue efforts to achieve this goal.

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