Growing Numbers of Women Principal Investigators Leading Gynecologic Clinical Trials Except within Asia

A trio of cancer researchers from the University of California’s Moores Cancer Center recently investigated how well women are faring as principal investigators in gynecologic oncology clinical trials. Given the gender-specificity of the topic, one would assume growing parity between males and female investigational leadership at major academic medical centers to commercial research clinics. So, the San Diego-based team tapped into and studied data in Clinicaltrials.gov, the government-funded study registration database. They aggregated, sliced, and diced data for studies from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2020 using relevant searches such as “ovarian cancer” to “endometrial cancer” to “cervical cancer.” By analyzing trial abstracts and reviewing principal investigator names as well as reviewing websites and querying the trial coordinator, the team sought to better understand any patterns with the data. The team found that women representation is on the rise over the last decade. They found that trials funded via multiple sponsors outside of Asia, in fact, have the highest representation of the highest number of women principal investigators. The trends favor women PIs and undoubtedly greater opportunity for leadership and mentorship plays a role. 

76 PIs were actually woman out of a total of 200 reviewed unique studies, representing 38% of the total. As it turns out, those studies funded by multiple sites had greater women PI participation as compared to a sole sourced funding (RR = 1.80, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.25, 2.61, p = 0.01). However, studies registered within the Asian continent have less women PIs. The overall growth rate of studies led by female PIs grew by 3% per annum, most evident in trials conducted in multiple continents (4%) and Europe (4%). For all data associated with this study, follow the link to the journal Gynecologic Oncology

Lead Research/Investigator

Jessica Jou, MD, Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, University of California San Diego, Moores Cancer Center, La Jolla, CA, United States, Corresponding Author