Published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (Sept. 20, 2005), the findings shed new light on why breast black cancer patients experience lower survival rates than other women, despite a lower incidence.
"This study is the first to correlate early termination of chemotherapy with racial disparities in breast cancer outcomes," said Dawn Hershman, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of medicine and epidemiology at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons and the Mailman School of Public Health, and the study's lead investigator.
Dr. Hershman and her research team set out to study the association between race and survival with duration of treatment and number of completed chemotherapy cycles. They analyzed the data of 472 stage I and II breast cancer patients enrolled in the tumor registry of the Henry Ford Health System, a large Detroit-area healthcare provider, between 1996 and 2001.
The investigators determined that women who discontinued treatment were more likely to be black and more likely to die than those who completed full chemotherapy cycles. Key findings include: