Race Gap Seen in Endometrial Cancer

Even with similar medical care, advanced endometrial cancer survival rates are 26% worse for black women than white women.

That news appears in Cancer's November edition.

Data came from four studies of women with advanced endometrial cancer. The endometrium is the inner lining of the uterus.

G. Larry Maxwell, MD, and colleagues combined the data from all four studies to check survival rates for 169 black women and 982 white women.

Maxwell works at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.

Maxwell's team found that the women in those four studies got comparable, aggressive medical care for endometrial cancer.

Even so, survival rates were 26% worse for the black women, the study shows.

Reasons for Racial Gap Unknown

Average survival was one year for white women, compared to 10.6 months for black women. The odds of surviving for two years were 26% for white women and 14% for black women.

The study doesn't pinpoint the reasons for the racial gap.

However, the researchers note that black women were more likely to have "poorly differentiated tumors." That means those cancer cells may be more aggressive.

"It appears that, once an advanced-stage or recurrent tumor becomes poorly differentiated, survival worsens irrespective of racial status," write Maxwell and colleagues.

Other biological, socioeconomic, or cultural factors may also in be involved, the researchers note.

SOURCES: Maxwell, G. Cancer, Nov. 1, 2006. News release, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

By Miranda Hitti
Reviewed by Louise Chang