After receiving the additional information, the proportion of Latina breast cancer patients taking steps toward participating in a clinical trial increased from 38 percent to 75 percent.
“Latinos represent 17 percent of the U.S. population but only 5.6 percent of participants in National Cancer Institute treatment clinical trials,” said Patricia Chalela, DrPH, assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. “Underrepresentation of minorities in clinical trials results in disparities of cancer outcomes and limits generalizability of the findings because researchers cannot study how minority patients respond to new treatments.
“Our results showed that intervention participants had significantly higher awareness of clinical trials than control participants,” continued Chalela, who is part of the study team led by Amelie G. Ramirez, DrPH, director of the IHPR. “We hope that computer-based videos specifically tailored for Latinos will provide an effective strategy to increase Latina breast cancer patients’ knowledge, understanding, and participation in clinical trials, although this needs confirming in larger studies.”
The study is in its last year of recruitment. To date, Chalela, Ramirez, and colleagues have enrolled 71 Latina breast cancer patients eligible to participate in a breast cancer clinical trial at the Cancer Therapy and Research Center at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio. Participants are randomly assigned to usual-care clinical trial information or additional information, which is provided through viewing of a culturally sensitive, computer-based video about breast cancer clinical trials, reading a tailored booklet on the topic, and receiving assistance from a patient navigator.
When compared with patients assigned to usual-care clinical trial information, patients assigned to additional information had significantly higher awareness of clinical trials, in particular, the purpose of clinical trials, the requirements for enrollment, the benefits and risks of clinical trials, and the potential of clinical trials as an appropriate treatment for a serious disease.
“These results are encouraging,” Chalela said. “We would like to assess the intervention at a larger scale and make the intervention available not only to all breast cancer patients, but expand it to all cancer patients in general.”
This study was supported by funds from Susan G. Komen, the Cancer Therapy and Research Center at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio, and Redes En Acción, a National Cancer Institute–funded Latino cancer research network based at the Institute for Health Promotion Research at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio. Chalela declares no conflicts of interest.