Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Why Are African-Americans Less Likely To Survive Certain Cancers?

Date:
July 8, 2009
Source:
Loyola University Health System
Summary:
African-Americans are more likely than other races to die from breast, prostate and ovarian cancers, but this disparity is not due to poverty or inferior health care, a first-of-its-kind study has found.

African Americans are more likely than other races to die from breast, prostate and ovarian cancers, but this disparity is not due to poverty or inferior healthcare, a first-of-its-kind study has found.

Researchers followed more than 19,000 patients who were enrolled in cancer clinical trials conducted by the Southwest Oncology Group, a National Cancer Institute-funded clinical trials national cooperative. Patients of all races received the same advanced treatments by the same doctors.

"It was a level playing field for everyone, with the same quality care," said lead author Dr. Kathy Albain. "So our findings cast doubt on a prevailing theory that African Americans have lower cancer survival rates because of poverty, poor access to quality care or other socioeconomic factors." Albain is a breast and lung cancer specialist at Loyola University Health System's Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center.

If poverty or other socioeconomic factors were to blame, then the survival gap should exist for all cancers. But the study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, found there was no statistically significant association between race and survival for lung and colon cancers, leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma.

"The good news for African Americans is that for most common cancers, they have the same survival rates as all other races," Albain said.

The cancers that did show survival gaps -- breast, prostate and ovarian -- are gender-related. The findings therefore suggest that the survival gap is due to a complex interaction of biologic factors in the tumor and inherited variations in common genes that control metabolism of drugs and hormones, Albain said. People with different patterns of these genes metabolize cancer drugs and their own hormones differently, and experience different side effects.

"We are actively conducting new research based on these findings to explore interactions among tumor biology, treatment, sex, race, inherited genes and survival," Albain said.

Dr. Patrick Stiff, director of the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, said: "This groundbreaking study will provide investigators with a road map for future research that will improve outcomes of patients of all races and socioeconomic status."

Researchers identified 19,457 adult cancer patients enrolled in 35 Southwest Oncology Group clinical trials who were followed for at least 10 years after treatment. Twelve percent of the patients were African American. During the course of the study, African Americans were 49 percent more likely than other races to die from early-stage, postmenopausal breast cancer; 41 percent more likely to die from early stage, premenopausal breast cancer; 61 percent more likely to die from advanced-stage ovarian cancer and 21 percent more likely to die from advanced-stage prostate cancer.

Albain is a professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. Her co-authors are Joseph Unger and John Crowley of the Southwest Oncology Group Statistical Center, Dr.Charles Coltman of the University of Texas Health Science Center and Dr. Dawn Hershman of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Loyola University Health System. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Albain et al. Racial Disparities in Cancer Survival Among Randomized Clinical Trials of the Southwest Oncology Group. J Natl Cancer Inst, 2009, 101: 984-992

Cite This Page:

Loyola University Health System. "Why Are African-Americans Less Likely To Survive Certain Cancers?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090707161411.htm>.
Loyola University Health System. (2009, July 8). Why Are African-Americans Less Likely To Survive Certain Cancers?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090707161411.htm
Loyola University Health System. "Why Are African-Americans Less Likely To Survive Certain Cancers?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090707161411.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins