Author(s): Chen LM, Li G, Reitzel LR, Pytynia KB, Zafereo ME,
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Abstract It is unknown whether population-level racial or ethnic disparities in mortality from squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) also occur in the setting of standardized multidisciplinary-team directed care. Therefore, we conducted a matched-pair study that controlled for several potentially confounding prognostic variables to assess whether a difference in survival exists for African American or Hispanic American compared with non-Hispanic white American SCCHN patients receiving similar care. Matched pairs were 81 African American case and 81 non-Hispanic white control patients and 100 Hispanic American cases and 100 matched non-Hispanic white controls selected from 1,833 patients of a prospective epidemiologic study of incident SCCHN within a single, large multidisciplinary cancer center. Matching variables included age (+/-10 years), sex, smoking status (never versus ever), site, tumor stage (T(1-2) versus T(3-4)), nodal status (negative versus positive), and treatment. Cases and controls were not significantly different in proportions of comorbidity score, alcohol use, subsite distribution, overall stage, or tumor grade. Matched-pair and log-rank analyses showed no significant differences between cases and controls in recurrence-free, disease-specific, or overall survival. Site-specific analyses suggested that more aggressive oropharyngeal cancers occurred more frequently in minority than in non-Hispanic white patients. We conclude that minority and non-Hispanic white SCCHN patients receiving similar multidisciplinary-team directed care at a tertiary cancer center have similar survival results overall. These results encourage reducing health disparities in SCCHN through public-health efforts to improve access to multidisciplinary oncologic care (and to preventive measures) and through individual clinician efforts to make the best multidisciplinary cancer treatment choices available for their minority patients. The subgroup finding suggests a biologically based racial/ethnic disparity among oropharyngeal patients and that prevention and treatment strategies should be tailored to different populations of these patients.
This article was published in Cancer Prev Res (Phila)
and referenced in Journal of Global Economics