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Cancer Clinical Trial Diversity May Be Hemmed in by Cost of Consent Document Translation

In Nature, University of California, Los Angeles, investigators consider the potential impact that clinical trial consent document translation costs may have when attempting to enroll underrepresented populations in cancer trials. Starting with more than 13,700 consent records for clinical trials taking place at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center between early 2013 and the end of 2018, the team focused on 12,082 consent documents, comparing the primary language and English proficiency for participants in industry-sponsored and non-industry sponsored trials. While consent documents were translated to a non-English language in more than 8 percent of industry trials, non-English consent forms were used just 4.4 percent of the time in non-industry trials. Likewise, the industry trials had higher enrollment of participants who had a primary language other than English, 5.5 percent versus 2.8 percent in the non-industry trials. "Our findings suggest that an important barrier for patients with limited English proficiency to participate in cancer studies may be the cost that consent document translation presents to investigators, particularly in studies not sponsored by industry," the authors report. "This work identifies a potentially modifiable barrier to enrolling these patients on studies, which is of particular importance in an increasingly multicultural and multilingual population."