Demographics of Astrocytoma in Central Texas: The Interaction Between Race, Histology, and Primary Tumor Site

Cureus. 2020 Aug 11;12(8):e9676. doi: 10.7759/cureus.9676.


Introduction The epidemiological factors surrounding astrocytoma and gliomas have been studied with little avail. Even limited conclusions have not been reached in spite of significant past research efforts. Ionizing radiation is currently one of the only factors consistently associated with glioma formation. Studies in an attempt to link environmental and occupational exposures with brain neoplasms have continued to produce inconsistent results. This study aims to explore the distribution and epidemiology of astrocytomas within a Central Texas patient population in order to elucidate any possible differences in epidemiologic and prognostic factors based on race, histology, and primary tumor site. Methods Eight hundred forty-five clinical cases with the diagnosis of astrocytoma were retrospectively obtained from the tumor registry of the Scott & White Integrated Healthcare System from 1976 to 2014. We investigated the effects of gender, race, tumor histology, tumor site, treatment methods, and mortality of this cohort of patients in Central Texas. Results Prevalence data echoes that of the national epidemiology in that among our sample, White individuals had the highest prevalence (n=666, 78.8%), followed by Hispanics (n=94, 11.1%) and Black individuals (n=78, 9.2%). White patients had higher rates of parietal lobe (6.6% vs. 0.6%, p<0.01), brain overlapping (6.8% vs. 0.0%, p<0.01), and brainstem (5.9% vs. 1.7%, p=0.02) tumors. Black patients had higher rates of tumors located in brain (not otherwise specified) (35.9% vs. 15.7%, p<0.01) and cerebellum (33.3% vs. 5.6%, p<0.01). Hispanic patients had higher rates of tumor located in the temporal lobe (31.9% vs. 22.8%, p<0.05) and brain (not otherwise specified) (28.7% vs. 16.1%, p<0.01). Hispanics had the largest proportion of deaths (72.3% vs. 38.0%, p<0.01) when compared to the remainder of the sample, followed by White individuals (39.6% vs. 49.7%, p=0.02) and Black individuals (21.8% vs. 43.8%, p<0.01). Conclusions Discrepancies in mortality rates amongst various racial groups may be due to a number of factors. Primary tumor site and histology seem to indeed play a role in mortality and may present variably between ethnic groups. Mortality is also influenced by race, genetic predisposition, environmental and occupational exposure, and access to healthcare.

Keywords: astrocytoma; demographics; epidemiology; prognostic factors.