Clinical Epidemiology and Ageing

Disentangling the reasons why older adults do not readily participate in cancer trials: a socio-epidemiological mixed methods approach.

Hagege M, Bringuier M, Martinez-Tapia C, Chouaid C, Helissey C, Brain E, Lempdes GRochette, Dubot C, Bello-Roufai D, Geiss R, Kempf E, Gourden A, Elgharbi H, Garrigou S, Gregoire L, Derbez B, Canoui-Poitrine F Age Ageing. 2024;53(2).

BACKGROUND: Few studies of the under-representation of older adults in cancer clinical trials (CTs) have encompassed the entire pathway from a trial being available in a cancer centre to the patient's invitation to participate and then agreement or refusal to participate.

OBJECTIVES: The study's primary objective was to evaluate CT non-invitation and refusal rates. The secondary objectives were to identify factors associated with non-invitation and refusal and to assess experiences of CT participation from the patients' and professionals' perspectives.

METHODS: Here, we used mixed methods and a socio-epidemiological approach to analyse reasons for the non-participation of eligible older patients with a solid cancer in cancer CTs in France.

RESULTS: We found that non-invitation and low CT participation are mainly related to the patients' sociodemographic characteristics and living conditions (such as social isolation, being single, divorced or widowed, not having children and the absence of close family members) and the healthcare professionals' perceptions of insufficient informal support or a high homecare requirement.

CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that efforts to increase fair inclusion and the participation of older adults in CTs should target the physician-patient relationship, the medical profession and hospital funding, rather than the patient alone.

MeSH terms: Aged; France; Humans; Neoplasms; Physician-Patient Relations
DOI: 10.1093/ageing/afae007