Background: Gastric cancer is an important cause of death among racial/ethnic minorities in the U.S. The objective of this study was to investigate racial disparities in survival among gastric cancer patients within demographic and disease subgroups.
Methods: Patients diagnosed with invasive epithelial gastric cancer between 2006 and 2015 were identified from the California Cancer Registry. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to identify factors associated with survival among non-Hispanic whites (NHWs, n = 7,475), non-Hispanic blacks (NHBs, n = 1,246), Hispanics (n = 6,274), and Asians/Pacific Islanders (APIs, n = 4,204). Survival was compared across race/ethnicity within subgroups of demographic and disease factors. Five-year relative survival was also calculated within subgroups.
Results: There were notable differences in patient characteristics by race/ethnicity, but predictors of survival were similar for each group. Overall, APIs (HR = 0.83, 95% CI: 0.79, 0.88, p < 0.0001) and Hispanics (HR = 0.94, 95% CI: 0.90, 0.99, p = 0.0104) had better survival than NHWs, but NHBs and NHWs did not have different prognosis (HR = 1.06, 95% CI: 0.98, 1.15, p = 0.2237). The survival advantage of APIs persisted in nearly every demographic and disease subgroup, but Hispanics and NHBs had similar survival as NHWs in most groups. Race was not a significant predictor of survival among those with public or no insurance and patients with cardia tumors.
Conclusions: There are some differences in survival by race/ethnicity, but race/ethnicity alone cannot explain disparate outcomes in gastric cancer. Future studies, particularly ones that investigate the role of population-specific etiological factors and molecular tumor profiles, are needed to further understand factors associated with survival.
Keywords: Disparities; Epidemiology; Gastric cancer; Race; Survival.