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Systematic review of interventions to increase recruitment and retention of black, minority and ethnic patients into randomised controlled trials

Recruitment into cancer trials has been an area of concern for numerous years. In 2000 the NHS plan sought to double the number of patients entering cancer trials within 3 years. This was achieved through the creation of the National Cancer Research Network in 2001. By 2004, approximately 10.9% of all cancer patients were entered into a trial. However, recruitment of Black, Minority and Ethnic (BME) patients into clinical trials has been reported to be under-represented compared to the split of ethnicity both within the reported incidence of disease and the reported total population. Mason found a two-fold under representation of South Asians within breast cancer trials (Mason et al, 2003).

In the USA, a significant under-representation of Hispanics, Blacks and Asians was found when comparing ethnic proportions recruited within oncology trials with existing cancer cases (Murthy et al, 2004). The under-representation of any patient group within a clinical trial, specifically an ethnic one, can bias trial results, and subsequent extrapolation into the general population.

A systematic literature review of interventions to improve the recruitment and retention of minority patients into clinical trials was conducted. The search intended to capture literature pre- and post the Race Relations Act Amendment (2000) and the USA National Institute of Health Revitalisation Act (1993).

Preliminary results of the review have revealed a paucity of published evidence from the UK, with the majority of the articles meeting the inclusion criteria originating from the USA. Final results will be presented.

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Correspondence to Gulnaz Iqbal.

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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Iqbal, G., Dunn, J. & Thorogood, M. Systematic review of interventions to increase recruitment and retention of black, minority and ethnic patients into randomised controlled trials. Trials 14, P83 (2013).

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  • Breast Cancer
  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomise Control Trial
  • Cancer Case
  • Trial Result


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