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Older adults in phase I clinical trials: a comparative analysis of participation and clinical benefit rate among older adults versus middle age and AYA patients on phase I clinical trials with VEGF/VEGFR inhibitors

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Older adults aged 65 years and above remain underrepresented in cancer clinical trials. We hypothesized that older participation in early phase trials with VEGF/VEGFR (VEGF/R) inhibitors was lower than cancer prevalence in this group and lower than other age groups (middle age, adolescent/young adults [AYA]).


Of 1489 patients, 278 were older adults (18%, median age 68.9y), 220 AYA (15%, median age 32.6 y), 991 middle age (67%, median age 53.8 y). Common malignancies included gastrointestinal (n = 438, 29%), gynecologic (n = 234, 16%), and thoracic/head/neck (n = 216, 15%). Median time to treatment failure did not vary significantly between the 3 age-based cohorts (3m in older adults, 3.5 m middle age, 3.3 m AYA). OR of achieving clinical benefit in older adults vs middle age (OR 1.10, p 0.19 [two-tailed], p 0.09 [one-tailed]) and AYA vs middle age (OR 0.85, p 0.31 [proportions z-test, two tailed], p 0.15 [one-tailed]) showed no significant differences.


Older adults accounted for <20% of participants on phase I clinical trials with VEGF/R inhibitors but those who participated were just as likely to achieve a clinical benefit as AYA and middle age patients. These findings merit further exploration into patient selection for early phase trials.


We identified and separated patients treated on VEGF/R-inhibitor-based phase I trials from 12/1/2004-07/31/2013 into 3 age-based cohorts, AYA (15-39y), middle age (40-64 y), older adults (65 y+). We analyzed clinical/treatment characteristics and response outcomes, calculating the odds ratios (OR) of clinical benefit (defined as SD ≥ 6months, PR, CR) for older adults and AYAs versus middle age participants.

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