African-Americans have worse prognosis at colorectal cancer diagnosis

Jan 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: SLNB doesn't up survival in melanoma arising in head, neck

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A poisonous cure

Dec 04, 2014

Take two poisonous mushrooms, and call me in the morning. While no doctor would ever write this prescription, toxic fungi may hold the secrets to tackling deadly diseases.

New device could make large biological circuits practical

Nov 24, 2014

Researchers have made great progress in recent years in the design and creation of biological circuits—systems that, like electronic circuits, can take a number of different inputs and deliver a particular ...

Recommended for you

Putting the brakes on cancer

Dec 19, 2014

A study led by the University of Dundee, in collaboration with researchers at our University, has uncovered an important role played by a tumour suppressor gene, helping scientists to better understand how ...

Peanut component linked to cancer spread

Dec 19, 2014

Scientists at the University of Liverpool have found that a component of peanuts could encourage the spread and survival of cancer cells in the body.

User comments : 0

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.