Clinical trial eligibility criteria can unfairly exclude patients or unnecessarily expose them to known risks if criteria are not concordant with drug safety. There are few data evaluating the extent to which acute leukemia eligibility criteria are justified. We analyzed criteria and drug safety data for front-line phase II and/or III acute leukemia trials with start dates 1/1/2010-12/31/2019 registered on ClinicalTrials.gov. Multivariable analyses assessed concordance between criteria use and safety data (presence of criteria with a safety signal, or absence of criteria without a signal) and differences between criteria and safety-based limits. Of 250 eligible trials, concordant use of ejection fraction criteria was seen in 34.8%, QTc in 22.4%, bilirubin in 68.4%, aspartate transaminase/alanine aminotransferase (AST/ALT) in 58.8%, renal function in 68.4%, HIV in 54.8%, and hepatitis B and C in 42.0% and 41.2%. HIV and hepatitis B and C criteria use was concordant with safety data (adjusted odds ratios 2.04 [95%CI: 1.13,3.66], 2.64 [95%CI: 1.38,5.04], 2.27 [95%CI: 1.20,4.32]) but no organ function criteria were (all p>0.05); phase III trials were not more concordant. Bilirubin criteria limits were the same as safety-based limits in 16.0% of trials, AST/ALT in 18.1%, and renal function in 13.9%; in 75.7%, 51.4%, and 56.5% of trials, criteria were more restrictive, respectively, by median differences of 0.2, 0.5, and 0.5 times the upper limits of normal. We found limited drug safety justifications for acute leukemia eligibility criteria. These data define criteria use and limits that can be rationally modified to increase patient inclusion and welfare.
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