ASCO & ACCC Join Forces to Increase Participation of Racial and Ethnic Minority Populations in Cancer Treatment Trials

Initiative Calls on Cancer Community to Share Novel Strategies, Practical Solutions to Address Longstanding Barriers
For immediate release
July 20, 2020


Mary Rappaport

Alexandria, VA—The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) today announced a new collaboration to foster participation in cancer treatment trials to more fully reflect the diversity of people at risk for or living with cancer.

The joint ASCO-ACCC initiative is designed to identify and implement novel strategies and practical solutions to increase clinical trial participation of racial and ethnic minority populations that continue to be under-represented in cancer research when compared with their percentages in the overall population of patients with cancer. Recent analyses of cancer treatment trials found that only 4% to 6% of trial participants are Black and 3% to 6% are Hispanic, whereas they represent 15% and 13% of all patients with cancer, respectively.1,2

“We are committed to providing evidence-based high-quality cancer care to every patient, every day, everywhere,” said ASCO President Lori J. Pierce, MD, FASTRO, FASCO, who is co-chair of the ASCO-ACCC Steering Group overseeing this new initiative. “But, if clinical trials don’t represent the individuals we treat, including those from racial and ethnic minority populations, the state of science suffers and patients with life-threatening conditions may miss out on the best—perhaps only—treatment option for their condition. This initiative is of critical importance and we’re honored to be working with ACCC to address longstanding barriers to diversity in cancer treatment trials.”

Barriers to Diversity in Cancer Treatment Trials

Today’s ASCO-ACCC announcement includes a call to action to the cancer community to submit novel strategies and practical solutions to increase cancer treatment trial participation and address challenges related to participation of patients from racial and ethnic minority populations, including provider bias; challenges with access, insurance coverage, and cost of care; a lack of awareness about trials; a lack of trust in the healthcare system and/or clinical research; linguistic, cultural or literacy-related issues; study design barriers; and other factors such as barriers to family and community engagement.

“We recognize that there are complex forces and systems that have created disparities in cancer research and that solving these problems will take a multi-faceted integrated approach reflecting the best current thinking and expertise from the entire cancer community,” said ACCC President Randall A. Oyer, MD, who is co-chair of the ASCO-ACCC Steering Group. “By working together, we can significantly extend the reach of this effort and help ensure that we pursue promising strategies that have a lasting and meaningful impact.”

ASCO-ACCC Request for Ideas (RFI)

The ASCO-ACCC Request for Ideas (RFI) seeks novel strategies and practical solutions to increase participation of under-represented racial and ethnic populations in cancer treatment trials. The ASCO-ACCC Steering Group will review and select ideas that may be modified, combined, implemented, and evaluated by ASCO and ACCC. The ideas submitted may be implemented and evaluated through the ASCO Targeted Agent and Profiling Utilization Registry (TAPURTM) Study, for example.

Criteria used to review and prioritize proposed ideas will include the potential to address racial and ethnic disparities in cancer treatment trials, replicability of the strategy, and indications that the submitter has demonstrated a commitment to equitable cancer care, among others. Individuals who submit ideas will be given an opportunity to work on the idea implementation, if interested.

The RFI is open for participation now through August 24, 2020. Learn more.



  1. Loree JM, Anand S, Dasari A, Unger JM, Gothwal A, Ellis LM, Varadhachary G, Kopetz S, Overman MJ, Raghav K, Disparity of Race Reporting and Representation in Clinical Trials Leading to Cancer Drug Approvals From 2008 to 2018 JAMA Oncol. 2019;5(10):e191870.
  2. Duma N, Vera Aguilera J, Paludo J, et al. Representation of Minorities and Women in Oncology Clinical Trials: Review of the Past 14 Years. J Oncol Pract. 2018 Jan;14(1):e1-e10.

About ASCO: 

Founded in 1964, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) is committed to making a world of difference in cancer care. As the world’s leading organization of its kind, ASCO represents nearly 45,000 oncology professionals who care for people living with cancer. Through research, education, and promotion of the highest-quality patient care, ASCO works to conquer cancer and create a world where cancer is prevented or cured, and every survivor is healthy. ASCO is supported by its affiliate organization, the Conquer Cancer Foundation. Learn more at, explore patient education resources at www.Cancer.Net, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.