Navigation Links
Genetic factors implicated in survival gap for breast, ovarian or prostate cancer

NEW YORK (July 8, 2009) A new finding reveals that African-American patients with breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer tend to die earlier than patients of other races with these cancers, even when they receive identical medical treatment and when socioeconomic factors are controlled for. The finding, an analysis of almost 20,000 patient records from 35 clinical trials, points to biological or genetic factors as the potential source of the survival gap. Dawn Hershman, M.D, M.S., a Columbia University Medical Center oncologist whose research is dedicated to examining racial and ethnic disparities in cancer outcome and in cancer survivorship, was the senior author of the research published online by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI).

The study analyzed patient records from clinical trials going back as far as 1974 conducted by the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG). The investigators conducted an analysis that controlled for comparable treatment, disparities in tumor prognosis, demographics, and socioeconomic status, and found no statistically significant difference in survival based on race for a number of cancers including lung, colon, lymphoma, leukemia and multiple myeloma. However, African-American patients with breast, ovarian, or prostate cancers the gender specific tumors were found to face a significantly higher risk of death than did other patients, ranging from 21 percent higher for those with prostate cancer to 61 percent higher for ovarian cancer patients.

The poorer outcome for African-American cancer patients was supported by separate data published last month in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO), which found that disparities in breast cancer survival based on race persisted even after adjusting for differences in treatment. That analysis of data from 634 breast cancer patients who participated in two SWOG-conducted trials was led by first author Dr. Hershman. Findings revealed that African-American women received similar dose intensity and cumulative dose as the Caucasian breast cancer patients, but were more likely to discontinue treatment early or experience treatment delay. In addition, African-American women had lower white blood counts, but no increase in infections complications. While Dr. Hershman and her team adjusted for these specific treatment related factors and other known predictors of outcome, such as age, hormone receptor status, stage, and treatment, African-American women still faced a lower rate of survival.

"The findings from these two studies are important as they suggest a possible role for biologic factors such as genetics, hormonal factors, comorbid conditions and tumor biology in cancer disparities. A better understanding of all the factors that contribute are critical, so that continued progress can be made toward reducing cancer mortality for patients of all races and ethnicities," says Dr. Hershman, assistant professor of medicine and epidemiology at Columbia University Medical Center and co-director of the breast cancer program at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. "There may be differences in genetic factors by race that alter the metabolism of chemotherapy drugs or that make cancers more resistant or more aggressive. We are now starting research to determine the role of these factors in this disparity."

"When you look at the dialogue about the issue of race and cancer survival that has gone on over the years, it always seems to come down to general conclusions that African-Americans in part have poorer access to quality treatment, may be diagnosed in later stages and may not have the same standard of care delivered as Caucasian patients, leading to a disparity in survival," says Kathy Albain, M.D., of Loyola University's Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, lead, and senior author of both the JNCI and JCO papers, respectively. "The good news is that for most common cancers, your survival is the same regardless of race. But this is not the case for breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers."

"The need to address the racial disparities in cancer survival outcomes both sociological and biological has never been more urgent," says Dr. Hershman. "With the incidence of cancer among minorities predicted to double in the next two decades while comparable incidence among whites is only expected to rise 31 percent this is a crucially important public health issue to understand all the factors that alter survival outcomes."


Contact: Elizabeth Streich
Columbia University Medical Center

Related biology news :

1. Does the desire to consume alcohol and tobacco come from our genetic makeup?
2. Diverse genetic abnormalities lead to NF-κB activation in multiple myeloma
3. Many parents at-risk for cancer disclose genetic test results to children
4. Genetics determine optimal drug dose of common anticoagulant
5. Claims of sex-related differences in genetic association studies often not properly validated
6. American College of Medical Genetics responds to new FDA labeling decision for warfarin
7. UNC study questions FDA genetic-screening guidelines for cancer drug
8. Genome study shines light on genetic link to height
9. Selexis Announces Advanced Approach to Maximize Power of Genetic Elements for Rapid Development of High Performance Cell Lines
10. Genes, Environment and Health Initiative invests in genetic studies, environmental monitoring
11. Rutgers Genetics receives $7.8 million for autism research
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/19/2015)... NEW YORK , Nov. 19, 2015  Although ... the market is dominated by a few companies, according ... Qiagen. These companies own 51% of the market share of ... report, The World Market for Molecular Diagnostic ... "The market is still controlled by one ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... 2015  Vigilant Solutions announces today that Mr. ... Directors. --> --> ... the partnership at TPG Capital, one of the largest ... Billion in revenue.  He founded and led TPG,s Operating ... companies, from 1997 to 2013.  In his first role, ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... 11, 2015   Growing need for low-cost, ... has been paving the way for use of ... discrete analytes in clinical, agricultural, environmental, food and ... used in medical applications, however, their adoption is ... to continuous emphasis on improving product quality and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris ... that its business and prospects remain fundamentally strong ... Zoptrex™ (zoptarelin doxorubicin) recently received DSMB recommendation to ... completion following review of the final interim efficacy ... 2 Primary Endpoint in men with heavily pretreated ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... LUMPUR, Malaysia , Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... global contract research organisation (CRO) market. The trend ... result in lower margins but higher volume share ... increased capacity and scale, however, margins in the ... Research Organisation (CRO) Market ( ), ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Copper is an essential micronutrient that all ... copper is also toxic to cells. With a $1.3 million award from the ... a systematic study of copper in the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa), a ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... PA (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... This ... entrepreneurs at competitive events in five states to develop and pitch their BIG ideas ... projects from each state are competing for votes to win the title of SAP's ...
Breaking Biology Technology: