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Team Highlights Targeted Treatment Trial Barriers for Cancer Patients

University of Chicago and University of California, San Francisco researchers reporting in JAMA Oncology look at enrollment in targeted treatment clinical trials, particularly focusing on potential barriers to enrollment. With the help of the molecular testing service Tempus, the team searched for cancer patients with potentially targetable SETD2 alterations within 50 miles of the University of Chicago or other specific treatment sites where patients are referred, focusing on enrollment in advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and non-RCC cohorts. Of 38 SETD2-altered RCC or non-RCC cases identified between late September 2020 to the following fall, the authors saw no enrollment in the trial of interest, prompting them to explore hurdles to enrollment — from physician notification or motivation to patient comorbidities, trial logistics, or performance by patient identification algorithms. "These findings raise the hypothesis that the biggest barrier to enrollment, as in other settings, is motivation of treating physicians," they write, "and that algorithms for identifying potential participants need to be aligned with patients' treatment trajectory."