A study presented at the 64th American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting and Exhibition and published in Blood found that the overall survival (OS) rate of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) was significantly better among women, Hispanic patients, and non-Hispanic White patients compared with non-Hispanic Black (NHB) patients.
Targeted therapy is often the first line of treatment for patients with CLL. Targeted therapies use drugs to target specific molecules or proteins on the surface of cancer cells, and patients who receive these therapies can see improved clinical and functional outcomes and higher OS rates.
Researchers from the Center for Health Outcomes and PharmacoEconomic Research at the University of Arizona used the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program to examine the association between CLL-related mortality and race, ethnicity, sex, and socioeconomic status.
The SEER program data yielded 32,701 patients with CLL older than 15 years of age who were undergoing targeted therapy. The researchers analyzed age at diagnosis, sex, ethnicity/race, annual household income, and area of residence (eg, rural versus urban).
Of the patients included in the study, 61% were male and 39% were female. In addition to the racial and ethnic disparities found, researchers also noted an association between OS and annual income. OS was significantly lower in patients with an annual income of less than $64,999 compared with an annual income of more than $75,000. There was no significant difference in OS when comparing urban and rural areas of residence.
“NHB patients may have advanced disease staging at diagnosis, less access to targeted treatments, delays in treatment initiation, and different disease biology (biomarkers or genetic),” the researchers wrote. “Our study highlights the need to investigate the mechanism by which race and ethnicity interacts with disease prognostic factors and treatment factors that influence survival outcomes in CLL patients.”