MAY 06, 2021 9:27 AM PDT

What accounts for the disparities in mortality rates from kidney cancer?

New research published in the journal Cancers attempts to address gaps in data regarding mortality risk from advanced-stage kidney cancer for different populations. The study was led by scientists at the University of Arizona Health Sciences and suggests that not only is the disease is more common in Hispanic Americans and Native Americans than in non-Hispanic whites, but both groups also have an increased risk of mortality from it.

"We knew from our past research that Hispanic Americans and Native Americans have a heavier burden of kidney cancer than non-Hispanic whites," said Ken Batai, PhD, a Cancer Prevention and Control Program research member at the UArizona Cancer Center and research assistant professor of urology in the College of Medicine - Tucson. "But we also know that around 90% of the Hispanic population in Arizona is Mexican American - either U.S.-born or Mexican-born - and we do not think this subgroup is well-represented in the national data."

Dr. Batai used data from the National Cancer Database and the Arizona Cancer Registry to analyze differences in surgical treatment of kidney cancer and look at the impacts of delayed treatments. In doing so, they categorized Hispanic Americans into specific subgroups such as U.S.-born Mexican Americans, finding that U.S.-born Mexican Americans have a three times higher risk of mortality compared with non-Hispanic white Americans. More broadly, they found that Hispanic Americans in Arizona are about two times more likely than non-Hispanic white people to have advanced-stage kidney cancer with a two times higher risk of mortality, while Native Americans in the state are about 30% more likely to have the disease and have a 30% increased risk of mortality.

The team says that it is crucial to address the misrepresentation of Hispanic Americans’ risk and mortality rate for kidney cancer. "To this point, there has been no research documenting this disparity in Hispanic Americans," Dr. Batai said. "This can be very useful information to share with primary care providers and urologists who may not yet be aware. We know these populations also have higher prevalence of diabetes and blood pressure, both of which are risk factors for kidney cancer. While we continue to explore differences in kidney cancer surgical treatment across these groups, we are investigating if there are biologic bases in kidney cancer disparities."

Sources: Cancers, Eureka Alert 

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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