African-American women with endometrial cancer continue to be more likely to die from the disease than their white counterparts, according to a new report.
“In our study, we noted that this survival differential has persisted over the last 15 years and there still remains a difference in survival,” Dr. Jason D. Wright told Reuters Health.
“The difference in survival doesn’t appear to be entirely due to difference in tumor types or stage between whites and blacks and also doesn’t appear to be entirely due to differences in treatment,” explained Wright, at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York. “This implies there may be differences in the underlying biology of endometrial cancer between whites and blacks.”
The findings stem from data on 80,915 patients with uterine cancer recorded in a national database. Seven percent of the patients were African American. The investigators divided the data into three groups based on when women were diagnosed: 1988-1993, 1994-1998, and 1999-2004.
Black patients, the researchers found, were significantly younger and had more advanced and more aggressive tumors than white women.
Wright’s team also observed that black women were 60 percent more likely to die from the cancer than white women. For each of the three time periods, survival was worse for blacks than for whites, they report.
“I think the take-home point,” Wright said, “is that despite improvements in diagnosis and treatment for endometrial cancer, black women are still at increased risk to die from their cancer and we need consider that black women have aggressive tumors when planning treatment.”
SOURCE: Cancer, March 15, 2009.