Objectives: Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. The incidence of pancreatic cancer in African Americans is 50% to 90% higher than the incidence in other racial groups. African Americans also have the worst prognosis. This is an evidence-based review of pancreatic cancer in African Americans with particular emphasis on baseline characteristics, treatment, and survival.
Methods: We queried PubMed in search for articles describing racial disparities in pancreatic cancer. Two categories of terms were "anded" together: pancreatic cancer terms and race terms. The last search was performed on November 14, 2013.
Results: We summarized the data on pancreatic cancer baseline characteristics, treatment, and survival for African Americans that we obtained from the following databases: (1) Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results, 1988-2008; (2) California Cancer Registry 1988-1998; (3) Cancer Survivor Program of Orange County/San Diego Imperial Organization for Cancer Control, 1988-1998; and (4) Harris County, 1998-2010.
Conclusions: Overall, pancreatic cancer survival of African Americans has not significantly improved over the past several decades despite advances in multimodality therapy; African Americans continue to face worse outcomes than whites. Although baseline characteristics, treatment, and biological factors offer some explanation, they do not completely explain the disparities in incidence and survival.