Racial/ethnic disparities in the treatment of localized/regional prostate cancer

Willie Underwood, Sonya De Monner, Peter Ubel, Angela Fagerlin, Martin G Sanda, John T Wei
Journal of Urology 2004, 171 (4): 1504-7

PURPOSE: Racial/ethnic disparities in the utilization of definitive therapy for prostate cancer are well recognized in the United States. The effect of race on the use of contemporary definitive therapies, including brachytherapy, and the assessment of Hispanic men with regard to racial/ethnic disparity has not been fully characterized.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We evaluated treatment patterns using Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results registry data on 142340 localized/regional stage cases between 1992 and 1999 in white, black and Hispanic American men. Definitive therapy was defined as radical prostatectomy, external beam radiation, brachytherapy or combinations thereof. Logistic regression models were constructed to determine the odds of receiving definitive treatment, adjusting for age, marital status, tumor grade, and Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results site.

RESULTS: Black and Hispanic men were less likely to receive definitive therapy than white men (p <0.001). Higher tumor grade was associated with decreasing odds of definitive therapy for black and Hispanic men (p <0.001) compared to white men. The racial/ethnic disparities in the use of definitive therapy decreased between 1992 and 1999 with the greatest decrease in Hispanic men.

CONCLUSIONS: Hispanic and black men were less likely than white men to receive definitive therapy. The disparity in the use of definitive therapy between 1992 and 1999 decreased significantly in Hispanic men, although a significant disparity in the use of definitive therapy persisted in black men. Our observation of an association between tumor grade and the racial/ethnic disparity in definitive therapy ties together relevant biological and social factors that may contribute to the observed racial/ethnic disparity in mortality.

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