The effect of race in head and neck cancer: A meta-analysis controlling for socioeconomic status

Head and Neck Cancer

Russo DP, et al. Am J Otolaryngol 2020.


PURPOSE: To investigate the association between race and ethnicity and prognosis in head and neck cancers (HNC), while controlling for socioeconomic status (SES).

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Medline, Scopus, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library were used to identify studies for inclusion, from database inception till March 5th 2019. Studies that analyzed the role of race and ethnicity in overall survival (OS) for malignancies of the head and neck were included in this study. For inclusion, the study needed to report a multivariate analysis controlling for some proxy of SES (for example household income or employment status). Pooled estimates were generated using a random effects model. Subgroup analysis by tumor sub-site, meta-regression, and sensitivity analyses were also performed. RevMan 5.3, Meta Essentials, and OpenMeta[Analyst] were used for statistical analysis.

RESULTS: Ten studies from 2004 to 2019 with a total of 108,990 patients were included for analysis in this study. After controlling for SES, tumor stage, and treatment variables, blacks were found to have a poorer survival compared to whites (HR = 1.27, 95%CI: 1.18-1.36, p < 0.00001). Subgroup analysis by sub-site and sensitivity analysis agreed with the primary result. No differences in survival across sub-sites were observed. Meta-regression did not identify any factors associated with the pooled estimate.

CONCLUSIONS: In HNC, blacks have poorer OS compared to whites even after controlling for socioeconomic factors.