Adjusted survival rates similar between blacks and whites with lung cancer

Although proportionally more blacks than whites present with distant-stage lung cancer, no difference in stage-adjusted lung cancer mortality exists between blacks and whites of similar low socioeconomic status, suggest new study findings.

According to a statement from the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC), lung cancer survival has improved since the early 1990s, but black patients experience poorer 5-year survival rates than do white patients. Yet in a prospective cohort study presented in the IASLC's Journal of Thoracic Oncology (2013;8[10]:1248-1254), investigators found no differences in survival rates between black persons and white persons with lung cancer after controlling for demographic factors, smoking, and lung cancer stage.

The research focused on 81,697 racially diverse and medically underserved adults, aged 40 to 79 years, who were enrolled in the Southern Community Cohort Study, representing an 11-state area of the southeast United States. Approximately two-thirds of the participants reported being black/African American.

A total of 501 incident cases of non–small cell lung cancer were identified. More black patients than white patients had received a diagnosis at distant stage (57% vs 45%). The mean observed follow-up time (time from diagnosis to death or diagnosis to end of follow-up) was 1.25 years (range 0–8.3 years). A total of 376 patients (75%) died during follow-up.

In multivariable analyses adjusted for pack-years of smoking, age, body mass index, health insurance, socioeconomic status, and disease stage, the hazard ratio for lung cancer mortality was higher for men than for women (1.41), but similar for blacks compared with whites (0.99).
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