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Immune Checkpoint Inhibition in Metastatic Kidney Cancer: Racial Differences in Outcomes?

By: Grace Murphy, MSW
Posted: Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Clinical outcomes for Black and White patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors were found to be comparable in terms of overall survival, according to a retrospective study conducted at the Emory Winship Cancer Institute and reported by Mehmet Asim Bilen, MD, and colleagues in Frontiers in Oncology. And, despite the shorter progression-free survival in Black patients, the authors determined that this immunotherapy is warranted for this group.

“Our findings support an imperative notion within disparities research that equal treatment provided to equal patients, regardless of race, should result in similar outcomes. However, the presence of racial disparities within the literature displays the need for further research in this field to delineate the medical and socioeconomic factors that cause these population-level outcome inequities,” researchers concluded.

A total of 38 Black patients and 160 White patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma who received immune checkpoint inhibitors at the Emory Winship Cancer Institute from 2015 to 2020 were included in the study. Most (78%) were diagnosed with clear cell renal cell carcinoma and had intermediate- or poor-risk disease (83%). Attributing disparities to a multifactorial cause, the investigators reported that the cohort of Black patients had a 24-month progression-free survival rate of 12.0% (95% confidence interval; [CI] = 3.5%–26.2%) versus 18.6% (95% CI = 12.5%–25.7%) for the cohort of White patients. There was no apparent difference in overall survival between the two groups after the investigators controlled for confounders such as age, renal cell carcinoma histology, and gender.

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit frontiersin.org.



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