(HealthDay News) — For cancer patients, the presence of comorbidities is adversely linked to trial discussions, trial offers, and trial participation, according to a study published online in JAMA Oncology.

Joseph M. Unger, PhD, from the SWOG Statistics and Data Management Center in Seattle, and colleagues examined the correlation between comorbidities and clinical trial decision making and participation using a national survey embedded within a web-based cancer treatment decision tool. The authors evaluated data for 5499 surveyed patients who had received a diagnosis of breast, lung, colorectal, or prostate cancer and who had made a treatment decision within the previous 3 months.

The researchers found that 65.6% of patients had one or more comorbidities, with hypertension being the most common comorbid condition (35.0%). The presence of one or more comorbidities correlated with a reduced chance of trial discussions (37.2 vs 44.1%; odds ratio, 0.86), trial offers (15.7 vs 21.7%; odds ratio, 0.82), and trial participation (7.8 vs 11.34%; odds ratio, 0.76) compared with absence of comorbidities. Removing the American Society of Clinical Oncology-recommended comorbidity restrictions could generate up to 6317 additional patient registrations every year.

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“Comorbidities have a clear, negative impact on both trial decision-making and participation,” Unger said in a statement. “Allowing people with manageable comorbidities to join trials would increase treatment opportunities for several thousand patients.”

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Unger JM, Hershman DL, Fleury ME, Vaidya R. Association of Patient Comorbid Conditions With Cancer Clinical Trial Participation. JAMA Oncol. Published online January 10, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2018.5953

Mishkin G, Arnaldez F, Ivy SP.Drivers of Clinical Trial Participation—Demographics, Disparities, and Eligibility Criteria. JAMA Oncol. Published online January 10, 2019. DOI:10.1001/jamaoncol.2018.5949