The risk of dying from liver cancer varies by race and ethnicity, particularly across subgroups of patients who are broadly defined as “Asian/Pacific Islander,” a new study suggests.
Researchers found that Vietnamese, Chinese, and Korean patients had a lower risk of dying from liver cancer, while Kampuchean and Laotian patients had a higher risk.
These findings were published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
The population-based cohort study included data on 60,146 patients, ages 20 to 79 years, from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program. The patients were diagnosed with liver cancer between 2004 and 2018.
The researchers found that, overall, non-Hispanic Asian/Pacific Islander patients had increased odds of being diagnosed with stage III liver cancer but decreased odds of being diagnosed with stage IV liver cancer, when compared with non-Hispanic White patients.
The data also showed differences in the odds of stage IV liver cancer across Asian and Pacific Islander subgroups. For example, Laotian men had the highest odds of stage IV liver cancer (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.95; 95% CI, 1.25-3.03), and Japanese women had the lowest odds (aOR, 0.49; 95% CI, 0.30-0.80).
As a whole, non-Hispanic Asian/Pacific Islander patients had a lower risk of liver cancer-specific death (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 0.88; 95% CI, 0.86-0.91), when compared with non-Hispanic White patients. However, there were differences across subgroups.
Compared with non-Hispanic White patients, Hispanic patients had lower odds of being diagnosed with stage IV liver cancer (aOR, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.87-0.98) and a lower risk of liver cancer-related mortality (data not provided).
Non-Hispanic Black patients, on the other hand, had 30% greater odds of being diagnosed with stage IV liver cancer, compared with non-Hispanic White patients. The risk of liver cancer-related death was also higher among non-Hispanic Black patients (aHR, 1.06; 95% CI, 1.03-1.10).
“Substantial variations in risk of advanced stage liver cancer and in risk of liver cancer mortality were observed by race and ethnicity, including considerable heterogeneity across individuals broadly defined as Asians and Pacific Islanders,” the researchers concluded. “Further efforts to understand the contributors to these disparities are needed in order to inform potential targeted screening and treatment interventions.”
Li DY, VoPham T, Tang M-TC, Li CI. Disparities in risk of advanced stage liver cancer and mortality by race and ethnicity. J Natl Cancer Inst. Published online May 12, 2022. doi:10.1093/jnci/djac097