Adapted from the NCI Cancer Bulletin.
African American women with advanced stage endometrial cancer have lower survival rates than white women with the disease even when both groups receive similar treatments, according to a study published online September 25, 2006, in the journal Cancer (see the journal abstract).
Previous studies on the disparities in outcomes and survival for African American women with endometrial cancer have suggested that the poorer prognosis was due to differences in treatment, noted researchers led by Dr. G. Larry Maxwell of Walter Reed Army Medical Center. "The objective of the current study was to determine whether race influenced the survival of patients with advanced endometrial cancer," they note.
The retrospective study analyzed data from 169 African American women and 982 white women who were participants in four randomized treatment trials conducted by the Gynecologic Oncology Group, where the patients received "contemporary chemotherapy regimens that included doxorubicin." The pooled data revealed that African American women were more likely to have papillary serous histology, stage IV disease, and higher tumor grade compared with white women; survival was also worse among African American women than among white women (median survival: 10.6 months vs. 12.2 months, respectively). The study results were initially presented at a gynecological cancer conference in 2005 (see NCI Cancer Bulletin, March 29, 2005).
"Our findings suggest that, even when patients with advanced endometrial cancer receive similar therapy, black women have a worse overall survival compared with white women," the researchers comment. "Although the causes of racial disparity in endometrial cancer remain to be elucidated, socioeconomic, biologic, and cultural factors should be investigated to identify the etiologic origins of this multifactorial health care problem."