Objectives: The goal of this study was to characterize differences in survival between black patients and white patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (HNSCCA).
Design: Cases of oral tongue and glottic SCCA in black patients or white patients were extracted from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database (years 1988–2002). For each primary site, TNM staging was imputed, and staging distributions were compared between races. For each black patient, a randomly selected white control was matched for age at diagnosis, sex, stage, surgical treatment, and radiation. Kaplan-Meier survival comparisons for both overall and disease-specific survival were then conducted for the matched pairs.
Results: From 1,919 cases of carcinoma of the oral tongue, those of 151 black and 1,768 white patients were extracted. Black patients had a significantly elevated T stage (P = .001) and N stage (P = .002) at primary presentation. Of glottic carcinoma, 4,578 cases (625 black and 3,953 white patients) were extracted. Black patients again presented with significantly elevated T stage (P < .001) and N stage (P < .001) compared with white patients. For 43 matched pairs with tongue carcinoma, mean overall survival for black patients was 66.1 months versus 74.8 months for matched white controls (P = .502, log-rank test). Disease-specific survival was 91.1 months for black patients versus 109.6 months for white patients (P = .168). For 401 matched pairs with glottic carcinoma, mean overall survival for black patients was 96.6 months versus 114.5 months for white controls (P < .001). Similarly, the mean disease-specific survival was 149.4 months for black patients versus 167.1 months for white patients (P < .001)
Conclusion: Controlling for stage and treatment, black patients demonstrate poorer overall and disease-specific survival with SCCA, implying other intrinsic or extrinsic factors influencing survival.