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Racial Disparities in HCC Exist Regardless of Treatment

Black patients have lower survival rates even after adjustment for therapy differences

THURSDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Blacks have a higher rate of mortality than whites, Hispanics, and Asians after treatment for early-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and this disparity persists even after adjusting for various types of treatment and treatment benefit, according to research published in the December issue of the Archives of Surgery.

Amit K. Mathur, M.D., of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues studied survival data on 13,244 stage I or II HCC patients to see whether racial/ethnic disparities in survival change after controlling for differences in the use of invasive therapies.

About a third of all patients received invasive therapy. Compared with whites, the researchers found that mortality rates were higher in the base survival model for black and Hispanic patients (hazard ratios, 1.24 and 1.08, respectively), and lower for Asians (hazard ratio, 0.87). After treatment stratification, blacks still experienced greater mortality (12 percent higher than whites), while Hispanics had a similar mortality rate and Asians experienced a mortality rate 16 percent lower.

"For early-stage HCC, racial/ethnic disparities in survival between minority and white patients are notable. After accounting for differences in stage, use of invasive therapy, and treatment benefit, no racial/ethnic survival disparity is evident between Hispanics and whites, but blacks have persistently poor survival," the authors write.

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