Regardless of patient and tumor characteristics, white patients with renal cell carcinoma (RCC) have a consistent survival advantage over black patients, data show.

Wong-Ho Chow, PhD, of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues analyzed data from 4,359 black and 34,991 white patients diagnosed with invasive RCC identified from 12 registries in the National Cancer Institute Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program. An actuarial method was used to compute relative survival rates through 2008.

Compared with whites, proportionally more blacks were diagnosed with RCC under age 50 and with localized disease, the researchers reported online in Cancer. However, the overall five-year relative survival rates were 72.6 and 68%, respectively, for white and black patients. Women and younger patients had higher survival rates. Advancing tumor stage and increasing tumor size within each stage were associated with decreased survival. Poorer prognosis was seen for clear cell RCC (common among whites) compared to papillary or chromophobe subtypes (common among blacks). Patients treated with nephrectomy, either black or white, had considerably improved survival than patients who received no surgical treatment (10.5% of white patients and 14.5% of black patients). Whites consistently had a survival advantage over blacks for all other demographic and clinical subgroups of patients.

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“Patients with RCC who are white consistently have a survival advantage over those RCC patients who are black, regardless of age, sex, tumor stage or size, histological subtype, or surgical treatment,” the investigators wrote.