Are racial/ethnic disparities in childhood and adolescent cancer survival associated with treatment amenability?
In this cohort study of 67 061 US children and adolescents, children and adolescents with racial/ethnic minority status had worse cancer survival compared with non-Hispanic white children and adolescents. Among non-Hispanic black and Hispanic (all races) children and adolescents, the disparity was generally greater for cancer types with higher vs lower relative survival rates.
Survival disparities among racial/ethnic minority children and adolescents appear to be greater for cancer types that are generally more amenable to medical intervention.
Although US cancer survival rates have increased over time, disparities by race/ethnicity remain, including for children and adolescents.
To examine whether racial/ethnic disparities in childhood and adolescent cancer survival vary by cancer type according to relative survival rates (RSRs), a marker for amenability to medical intervention.
Design, Setting, and Participants
In a retrospective cohort study using US Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results data, 67 061 children and adolescents diagnosed at ages 0 to 19 years with a first primary malignant cancer from January 1, 2000, to December 31, 2016, were evaluated. Data analysis was performed from June 19 to November 3, 2019. Participants were followed up from the dates of diagnosis to cancer death or the end of the follow-up period, whichever came first.
Race/ethnicity defined as non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaskan Native, non-Hispanic Asian or Pacific Islander, or Hispanic (any race).
Main Outcomes and Measures
Cancer amenability was defined using 5-year RSRs for 103 cancer types. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to compute adjusted hazard ratios (aHRs) and 95% CIs for the association between race/ethnicity and cancer survival for high (>85% RSR), medium (70%-85% RSR), and low (<70% RSR) amenability categories.
Among 67 061 cancer cases, 36 064 were male (53.8%); most individuals were non-Hispanic white (35 186 [52.5%]) followed by Hispanic of any race (19 220 [28.7%]), non-Hispanic black (7100 [10.6%]), non-Hispanic Asian or Pacific Islander (4981 [7.4%]), and non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaskan Native (574 [0.9%]). Mean (SD) age at diagnosis was 9.66 (6.41) years. Compared with non-Hispanic white children and adolescents, a higher aHR of death was observed for high- than low-amenability cancers for non-Hispanic black patients (high: aHR, 1.59; 95% CI, 1.41-1.80 vs low: aHR, 1.35; 95% CI, 1.24-1.47; P = .002 for interaction) and Hispanic (any race) patients (high: aHR, 1.63; 95% CI, 1.50-1.78 vs low: aHR, 1.16; 95% CI, 1.08-1.25; P < .001 for interaction). Results for other race/ethnicities showed similar patterns but were not statistically significant.
Conclusions and Relevance
Racial/ethnic minority children and adolescents were observed to have a higher risk of death than non-Hispanic white children and adolescents, with more amenable cancers having larger relative survival differences. This disparity may be associated with a combination of factors, including differences in access to health care resources.
Identify all potential conflicts of interest that might be relevant to your comment.
Conflicts of interest comprise financial interests, activities, and relationships within the past 3 years including but not limited to employment, affiliation, grants or funding, consultancies, honoraria or payment, speaker's bureaus, stock ownership or options, expert testimony, royalties, donation of medical equipment, or patents planned, pending, or issued.
Err on the side of full disclosure.
If you have no conflicts of interest, check "No potential conflicts of interest" in the box below. The information will be posted with your response.
Not all submitted comments are published. Please see our commenting policy for details.
Delavar A, Barnes JM, Wang X, Johnson KJ. Associations Between Race/Ethnicity and US Childhood and Adolescent Cancer Survival by Treatment Amenability. JAMA Pediatr. 2020;174(5):428–436. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.6074
Coronavirus Resource Center
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.
Create a personal account or sign in to: