Similar outcomes between African American and non-African American patients with extensive-stage small-cell lung carcinoma: report from the Cancer and Leukemia Group B

J Clin Oncol. 2006 Jan 20;24(3):407-12. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2005.02.1436. Epub 2005 Dec 19.


Purpose: Among patients with small-cell lung carcinoma, African Americans have lower survival rates than non-African Americans. We investigated whether the disparity in survival would persist when patients were treated with similar therapies (ie, phase II/III Cancer and Leukemia Group B [CALGB] trials).

Patients and methods: We assessed 995 patients (928 non-African American and 67 African American) receiving chemotherapy in CALGB studies for extensive-stage small-cell lung cancer (ES-SCLC). Clinical and demographic characteristics, treatment received, and survival data were obtained from the CALGB database. The Cox proportional hazards model was used to assess the effect of race/ethnicity on survival after adjustment for other known prognostic factors. All statistical tests were two sided.

Results: The unadjusted survival distribution of African American patients was not significantly different from that of non-African American patients; median survival was 11.5 months (95% CI, 9.4 to 13.4 months) for African American patients versus 9.9 months (95% CI, 9.6 to 10.3 months) for non-African American patients. Multivariable adjustment for the effect of treatment arm, histology, and metastatic site at presentation did not alter the outcome for African American patients. Survival was similar even though African American patients were more likely to have a poorer performance status, present with significant weight loss, and be Medicaid recipients (20% v 6%), which is an indicator of lower socioeconomic status.

Conclusion: African American patients tended to present with prognostic features associated with a worse survival. However, when offered equivalent therapy, the outcome for African American patients was the same as that observed for non-African American patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / ethnology
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / mortality*
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / pathology
  • Clinical Trials, Phase II as Topic
  • Clinical Trials, Phase III as Topic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Lung Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States / epidemiology