AACR: Race Not Cause of Lung Cancer Survival Disparity

Fewer black patients than whites undergo surgical treatment; more have metastatic disease
By Lindsey Marcellin
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Oct. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Race is not an independent prognostic factor for survival among black patients with lung cancer, according to research presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities, held from Sept. 30 to Oct. 3 in Miami.

Courtney E. Krug, of the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine in Huntington, W.Va., and colleagues conducted a retrospective study using data from the Cancer Information Resource File on 130,517 patients diagnosed with lung cancer between 2003 and 2008.

The researchers found that black patients had a lower median overall survival than white patients (9.1 and 10.3 months, respectively). Races designated as "other," including Hispanics and Asians, had the highest median survival, at 11.8 months. Age older than 70 years and male sex were also associated with a lower median survival; 67 percent of black patients were younger than 70 when they presented with lung cancer, compared with 54 percent of white patients. Fewer blacks had surgical treatment for their disease, and a greater percentage (44 versus 41 percent of whites) had metastatic disease, all factors which the researchers concluded may have contributed to their lower median survival.

"If possible, we would like to look into the tumor biology of 'other' races to see when differences exist in their tumors as compared to Caucasian and African-American patients and whether these differences might account for their better prognosis," a co-author of the study said in a statement.

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