African-Americans have worse prognosis at colorectal cancer diagnosis

January 16, 2009

African-American patients with colorectal were more likely to present with worse pathological features at diagnosis and to have a worse five-year survival rate compared to Caucasian patients, according to a study conducted by researchers at Thomas Jefferson University.

The results are being presented at the 2009 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium. The study was led by Edith Mitchell, M.D., a clinical professor in the Department of Medical Oncology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University. Dr. Mitchell is also associate director of Diversity Programs for the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson.

"One possible explanation could be the socioeconomic factors that are often associated with African-American patients," Dr. Mitchell said. "For example, research has shown that African-Americans are less likely than Caucasian patients to have health insurance, and thus they may not receive the screening necessary to detect colorectal cancer at an earlier stage."

Dr. Mitchell and colleagues obtained data from the tumor registry of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital on 2,500 patients treated for colorectal cancer from 1988 to 2007. They compared those data with data obtained from the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database on 244,701 patients with colorectal cancer treated from 1988 to 2005. The researchers collected data on location, stage and histologic grade of the cancer.

In both patient groups, more African-American patients presented with advanced disease (defined as stage III or stage IV) at diagnosis. African-American patients were also more likely to have proximal - on the right side of the colon - disease. Among patients diagnosed with early-stage disease, the risk for nodal involvement was greater in African-American patients.

African-American patients also had a worse five-year survival, both overall and when stratified by cancer stage.

"Right now, we cannot definitely explain why there are such differences between the African-American and the Caucasian patients," Dr. Mitchell said. "We need to do more studies on prognostic factors related to tumor biology, molecular markers and genetics to account for the racial disparities."

Source: Thomas Jefferson University

Explore further: Nanotech-based sensor developed to measure microRNAs in blood, speed cancer detection

Related Stories

Cancer decoy could attract, capture malignant cells

September 11, 2015

A small, implantable device that researchers are calling a cancer "super-attractor" could eventually give doctors earlier warnings of relapse in breast cancer patients and even slow the disease's spread to other organs.

Researchers unveil DNA-guided 3-D printing of human tissue

August 31, 2015

A UCSF-led team has developed a technique to build tiny models of human tissues, called organoids, more precisely than ever before using a process that turns human cells into a biological equivalent of LEGO bricks. These ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

( -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.