Increased Death a Risk w/ Ovarian Ca

African-American Ovarian Cancer Patients at Increased Risk for Death

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Mar 14

Even after controlling for disease stage and other clinically relevant variables, African-American women with ovarian cancer are 30% more likely to die than Caucasian women, according to a report published in the March 15th issue of Cancer.

Dr. Jill S. Barnholtz-Sloan, from Wayne State University in Detroit, and colleagues compared the outcomes of 12,285 Caucasian women with those of 798 African-American women with primary ovarian cancer. All patient information was obtained from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database.

The crude median survival for Caucasian women was 32 months compared with 22 months for African-American women (p < 0.0001), the investigators note.

African-American women were younger at diagnosis, more likely to be single, and less likely to undergo surgery than Caucasian women.

African-American women were 50% more likely to have stage IV disease than Caucasian women. Furthermore, lymph node involvement was more common among African-American women.

Univariate analysis revealed that African-American women were 30% more likely than Caucasian women to die from any cause, the authors state. Multivariate analysis, adjusting for all the relevant prognostic variables, yielded the same finding.

The results indicate that ethnicity has a strong impact on risk of death in ovarian cancer patients. However, "because the estimated risk of death...did not change after adjustment for the variables that were shown to differ by ethnicity, additional variables should be investigated that are not available in the SEER database, such as socioeconomic status, course of treatment, and accessibility to care," the authors emphasize.

Cancer 2002;94:1886-1893.

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