Although the advent of targeted therapy has led to a significant improvement in survival among African American and Caucasian patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC), African American patients face a survival disadvantage compared to Caucasians, independent of treatment received, according to a study published in Cancer.1

Researchers led by Tracy Rose, MD, MPH, of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, identified 48,846 patients with stage 4 RCC through the National Cancer Data Base, and compared survival among African American patients and Caucasian patients during the periods before (1998 to 2004) and after (2006 to 2011) the advent of targeted therapy.

Among the observed patients, 10% were found to be African American. The researchers found that 3-year survival among both African American and Caucasian patients improved between the 2 periods, with no interaction between race, and improved survival over time.

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Adjusted hazard ratio for death among African Americans compared to Caucasians was 1.13 among patients in the post-targeted therapy era, which was found to be unchanged from the pre-targeted therapy era.

The authors concluded that the potential survival disadvantage among African Americans could be related to unmeasured comorbidities, disease burden, or tumor biology.


  1. Rose TL, Deal AM, Krishnan B, Nielsen ME, Smith AB, Kim WY, et al. Racial disparities in survival among patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma in the targeted therapy era [published online ahead of print June 24, 2016]. Cancer. doi: 10.1002/cncr.30146.