Representative enrollment of racial and ethnic minoritized populations in biomedical research ensures the generalizability of results and equitable access to novel therapies. Previous studies on pediatric clinical trial diversity are limited to subsets of journals or disciplines. We aimed to evaluate race and ethnicity reporting and representation in all US pediatric clinical trials on ClinicalTrials.gov.
We performed a cross-sectional study of US-based clinical trials registered on ClinicalTrials.gov that enrolled participants aged <18 years old between October 2007 and March 2020. We used descriptive statistics, compound annual growth rates, and multivariable logistic regression for data analysis. Estimates of US population statistics and disease burden were calculated with the US Census, Kids’ Inpatient Database, and National Survey of Children’s Health.
Among 1183 trials encompassing 405 376 participants, race and ethnicity reporting significantly increased from 27% in 2007 to 87% in 2018 (P < .001). The median proportional enrollment of Asian American children was 0.6% (interquartile range [IQR], 0%–3.7%); American Indian, 0% (IQR, 0%–0%); Black, 12% (IQR, 2.9%–28.4%); Hispanic, 7.1% (IQR, 0%–18.6%); and white 66.4% (IQR, 41.5%–81.6%). Asian American, Black, and Hispanic participants were underrepresented relative to US population demographics. Compared with expected proportions based on disease prevalence and hospitalizations, Asian American and Hispanic participants were most consistently underrepresented across diagnoses.
While race and ethnicity reporting in pediatric clinical trials has improved, the representative enrollment of minoritized participants remains an ongoing challenge. Evidence-based and policy solutions are needed to address these disparities to advance biomedical innovation for all children.