Racial disparities in local therapy for early stage non-small-cell lung cancer

Lung Cancer

J Surg Oncol. 2020 Sep 14. doi: 10.1002/jso.26206. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVES: This study investigated disparities in the delivery of definitive therapy for early stage non-small-cell lung cancer (ESNSCLC) between Caucasian (CS) and African American (AA) populations.

METHODS: The National Cancer Data Base was queried for AA and CS patients, diagnosed with c stage I Non small cell lung cancer between 2004 and 2015. Trends in surgery, stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR), or external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) were compared. Kaplan-Meier and Cox hazards models were used to compare 5-year overall survival (5YOS).

RESULTS: A total of 174,338 (90.6%) patients were CS and 18,077 (9.4%) patients were AA. AA patients were less likely to receive surgery (60.3% vs. 66.9%; p < .001) and more likely to receive EBRT (12.4% vs. 10.6%; p < .001); however, there was no significant difference in rates of SABR (8.8% vs. 9.2%; p = .066). From 2004 to 2015, the surgery rates increased for AA patients from 44.4% to 61.8% and for CS patients from 57.6% to 65.6%. AA patients had worse 5YOS on an unadjusted analysis (46.7% vs. 47.9%; p = .009). When adjusted for definitive treatment, AA patients had improved survival (hazard ratio = 0.97, 95% confidence interval = 0.94-0.99).

CONCLUSION: Improvements in the delivery of surgery and equal utilization of definitive radiation therapy are at least partially responsible for closing the survival gap between AA and CS patients with ESNSCLC.