Authors: Lathan CS, Neville BA, Earle CC
Title: The effect of race on invasive staging and surgery in non-small-cell lung cancer.
Journal: J Clin Oncol 24(3):413-8
Date: 2006 Jan 20
Abstract: PURPOSE: Black patients with early-stage non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) have worse overall survival than white patients. Decreased likelihood of resection has been implicated. To isolate the effect of decision making from access to care, we used receipt of surgical staging as a proxy for access and willingness to undergo invasive procedures, and examined treatments and outcomes by race. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We examined registry and claims data of Medicare-eligible patients with nonmetastatic NSCLC in areas monitored by the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program from 1991 to 2001. Patients who obtained invasive staging, defined as bronchoscopy, mediastinoscopy, or thoracoscopy, were included. Logistic regression and Cox modeling calculated the odds of having staging and surgery, and survival outcomes. RESULTS: A total of 14,224 patients underwent staging, and 6,972 had surgery for lung cancer. Black patients were less likely to undergo staging (odds ratio [OR] = 0.75; 95% CI, 0.67 to 0.83), and once staged, were still less likely to have surgery than whites (OR = 0.55; 95% CI, 0.47 to 0.64). Survival for blacks and whites was equivalent after resection (hazard ratio = 1.02; P = .06). Staged black patients were less likely to receive a recommendation for surgery when it was not clearly contraindicated (67.0% v 71.4%; P < .05), and were more likely to decline surgery (3.4% v 2.0%; P < .05). CONCLUSION: Black patients obtain surgery for lung cancer less often than whites, even after access to care has been demonstrated. They are more likely not to have surgery recommended, and more likely to refuse surgery. Additional research should focus on the physician-patient encounter as a potential source of racial disparities.