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Black patients underrepresented in clinical trials of CAR-T drug treatment for blood cancers

Black patients were significantly underrepresented in pivotal clinical trials supporting FDA approvals of CAR T-cell therapies for patients with blood cancers, especially multiple myeloma.

Chimeric antigen receptor–T cell (CAR-T) therapy, a major advancement in the treatment of blood cancers, is currently approved for use in multiple myeloma. Its use is reserved for advanced, relapsed, or refractory cases that otherwise have no or limited available effective treatment options.

From 2017 to 2021, only one clinical trial for a CAR-T treatment of multiple myeloma specified the race of the participants, although the incidence of the cancer in Blacks is more than twice the level of Whites. That trial reported the results of 100 participants, only 6 of whom were Black.

The findings of this study suggest that low enrollment of Black persons exists in trials for CAR T therapy and that the disparity is substantial and ongoing, especially for therapies to treat multiple myeloma,” said researcher Samer Al Hadidi, MD, (above) of the University of Arkansas.

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