Ovarian carcinoma, ethnicity, and survival

African-American women with ovarian carcinoma have a 30% greater risk of death from any cause and are more likely to die earlier when compared to Caucasian women with ovarian cancer. Findings in a recent study published in the March 15, 2002, issue of CANCER* indicate that ethnicity itself is a risk factor in ovarian cancer survival even after adjustment for prognostic factors that showed ethnic differences. Differences in prognostic factors were observed in age at diagnosis, marital status, stage of tumor, and site-specific surgical treatment.

Ovarian cancer causes more deaths per year than all other female reproductive cancers. Ethnicity, parity, oral contraception use, and breast feeding are all predictive factors for development of ovarian cancer. Factors that predict poor prognosis include higher disease stage and older age. Other studies have also shown that African-Americans with ovarian cancer have higher mortality rates than Caucasians with ovarian cancer. While ethnicity is a risk factor, little is known about the differences in prognostic factors between Caucasians and African-Americans with ovarian cancer that could effect survival. In a retrospective study of over 13,000 women with ovarian cancer, Barnholtz-Sloan et al analyzed data for differences in prognostic factors between Caucasians and African-Americans and the effect of these differences on ovarian cancer survival.

Data from 12,285 Caucasian women and 798 African-American women diagnosed with primary, malignant ovarian carcinoma was analyzed from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program. SEER is a population-based national cancer surveillance database with demographic, clinical, treatment and survival information on men and women diagnosed with cancer. Factors included the database and analyzed in this study include marital status, age at diagnosis, tumor stage, tumor histology and grade, lymph node involvement, site-specific surgical treatment, and

Contact: David Greenberg
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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