Introduction: Clinical trial participation is essential to the progress of optimizing cancer care outcomes; however, there is a paucity of African American (AA) participation in cancer clinical trials (CCTs) resulting in significant gaps in treatment efficacy. There has been a robust amount of research on ways to increase AA participation in CCTs, but few studies have examined AA recruitment at safety-net hospitals. The objective of this study is to utilize a multilevel, qualitative approach to assess the clinical and non-clinical facilitators and barriers to AA participation in CCTs at a safety-net hospital from the perspective of AA cancer survivors. Methods: Study participants (n=25) were recruited from a cancer center at a safety-net hospital in the southeastern U.S. Eligible participants were individuals who: 1) self-identified as AA; 2) were 18-75 years old; 3) spoke and read English; 4) diagnosed with cancer; 5) had no functional limitations that would interfere with participation in a 60-minute focus group; and 6) be capable of providing written consent for study participation. Focus groups were digitally recorded and transcribed. Data was coded and analyzed to identify the most prominent themes representing unifying ideas and concepts. Results: Theme 1: Understanding of Cancer Clinical Trial Terminology (Barrier). For some of the participants this focus group session was the first conversation they had where they were able to discuss their cancer diagnosis with other survivors. Participants also expressed confusion between clinical trials and treatment; many did not know the difference between the terms. There were instances where patients used the terms incorrectly, especially during discussions about willingness to participate in trials. Theme 2: Perceptions of Cancer Clinical Trials (Barrier). Participants may have heard of clinical trials but did not know what a cancer clinical trial entailed. Once a clinical trial was explained participants expressed that they may have taken part. Some indicated that no medical professionals discussed a clinical trial or recruited them to participate. Participants who were knowledgeable about CCTs expressed that they were ineligible for the trial, although ineligibility also seemed to be confusing for them. Most reported receiving information from pamphlets. Theme 3: Role of Patient Navigator (Facilitator). In general, participants expressed trust in their physicians, particularly for medical information; however, some preferred resources and information from a patient navigator. All agreed that they would be willing to work with a patient navigator and saw the patient navigator’s role as providing social support and as a resource. Participants preferred a knowledgeable patient navigator that had cancer experience. Conclusion: Including cancer patient navigators as part of the treatment team staff may help traverse potential barriers to CCT participation, and ultimately increase the number of AAs diagnosed with cancer participating in CCTs.

Citation Format: Natalie D Hernandez, Raegan W Durant, Dexter L Cooper, Desiree Rivers, Ebony Repress, Nedra Lisovicz, Brian M Rivers. African American cancer survivors’ perspectives on clinical trial participation at a safety-net hospital cancer center [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the Twelfth AACR Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved; 2019 Sep 20-23; San Francisco, CA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2020;29(6 Suppl_2):Abstract nr B032.