Racial Disparity Seen With High-Risk Neuroblastoma

Late-occurring events seen more often in blacks with high-risk disease

TUESDAY, Nov. 23 (HealthDay News) -- High-risk neuroblastoma appears to be more prevalent in blacks and Native Americans, and blacks with high-risk disease tend to have a higher rate of late-occurring events, according to research published online Nov. 22 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Tara O. Henderson, M.D., of the Comer Children's Hospital at the University of Chicago, and colleagues analyzed data for 3,539 neuroblastoma patients from the Children's Oncology Group to look for disparities in disease presentation and survival by race and ethnicity.

The researchers found that five-year event-free survival (EFS) was 67, 69, 62, 56, and 37 percent in whites, Hispanics, Asians, blacks, and Native Americans, respectively. High-risk disease was more prevalent in blacks and Native Americans than in whites, and they also had significantly worse EFS, though these differences disappeared with risk-group adjustment. In high-risk patients who experienced two or more event-free years, however, more blacks than whites experienced late-occurring events.

"Black and Native American patients with neuroblastoma have a higher prevalence of high-risk disease, accounting for their worse EFS when compared with whites. The higher prevalence of late-occurring events among blacks with high-risk disease suggests that this population may be more resistant to chemotherapy. Studies focused on delineating the genetic basis for the racial disparities observed in this study are planned," the authors write.

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