Hispanic lung cancer patients tend to live longer than blacks and whites

April 23, 2012

A new analysis has found that Hispanic lung cancer patients seem to live longer than white or black patients. Published early online in Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the study suggests that, as with several other types of cancer, certain yet-to-be-defined genetic and/or environmental factors put Hispanic patients at a survival advantage.

Most studies that look at ethnic and in lung cancer compare black patients with whites. To see how Hispanics compare with other ethnicities with regards to survival after a lung cancer diagnosis, Ali Saeed, an MD/PhD candidate, and Brian Lally, MD, of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, led a team that analyzed patient information from the Survival, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Database, which compiles incidence and survival data from population-based cancer registries in the United States.

The investigators identified 172,398 adult patients who were diagnosed with any stage of non-small cell lung cancer (the most common form of lung cancer) between 1988 and 2007.

Compared with white patients, had a 15 percent lower risk of dying during the years of the study, whether they were born in the United States or not. "This is important because it shows that our findings are indicative of the in general and not specific to specific groups of Hispanics," said Saeed. Black patients were slightly more likely to die than whites. Also, Hispanics were more likely to develop a lung called bronchioalveolar carcinoma that is not as serious or life-threatening as other types.

"Our findings will motivate researchers and physicians to understand why Hispanics have more favorable outcomes and may shed light on potential environmental factors and/or genetic factors that can explain our observations," said Saeed. "For instance, the fact that Hispanics developed higher frequencies of bronchioalveolar carcinoma could be due to genetic predispositions and/or their lower smoking rates." (Smokers are at increased risk for developing tumor types associated with a poor prognosis.)

Saeed noted that the results fit into a phenomenon known as the "Hispanic paradox," in which Hispanics tend to have more favorable outcomes after being diagnosed with certain diseases despite having socioeconomic factors (such as decreased access to health care and higher poverty rates) that would predict otherwise. This paradox is seen for breast cancer, prostate cancer, cardiovascular disease, and now non-small cell lung cancer.

Explore further: Death rate higher in minorities with acute leukemia

Related Stories

Death rate higher in minorities with acute leukemia

September 19, 2011
Blacks and Hispanics have fewer cases of acute leukemia compared to whites but they die at a substantially higher rate, according to study results presented at the Fourth AACR Conference on The Science of Cancer Health Disparities, ...

Recommended for you

Vitamin C may encourage blood cancer stem cells to die

August 17, 2017
Vitamin C may "tell" faulty stem cells in the bone marrow to mature and die normally, instead of multiplying to cause blood cancers. This is the finding of a study led by researchers from Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone ...

Scientists develop novel immunotherapy technology for prostate cancer

August 17, 2017
A study led by scientists at The Wistar Institute describes a novel immunotherapeutic strategy for the treatment of cancer based on the use of synthetic DNA to directly encode protective antibodies against a cancer specific ...

Outdoor light at night linked with increased breast cancer risk in women

August 17, 2017
Women who live in areas with higher levels of outdoor light at night may be at higher risk for breast cancer than those living in areas with lower levels, according to a large long-term study from Harvard T.H. Chan School ...

Toxic formaldehyde is produced inside our own cells, scientists discover

August 16, 2017
New research has revealed that some of the toxin formaldehyde in our bodies does not come from our environment - it is a by-product of an essential reaction inside our own cells. This could provide new targets for developing ...

Cell cycle-blocking drugs can shrink tumors by enlisting immune system in attack on cancer

August 16, 2017
In the brief time that drugs known as CDK4/6 inhibitors have been approved for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer, doctors have made a startling observation: in certain patients, the drugs—designed to halt cancer ...

Researchers find 'switch' that turns on immune cells' tumor-killing ability

August 16, 2017
Molecular biologists led by Leonid Pobezinsky and his wife and research collaborator Elena Pobezinskaya at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have published results that for the first time show how a microRNA molecule ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.