The genetic makeup of colon cancer tumors and survival rates for patients with the disease differ by race, according to a study from researchers at the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center.
"These findings put the issue of race more prominently on the radar of investigators — that cancer biology may contribute to race-based disparities," says Harry H. Yoon, M.D., a medical oncologist at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota. "While it is too early to change the way we treat these patients, our results indicate that future studies are needed to examine potential biological drivers of these differences more closely."
According to the American Cancer Society, colon cancer is the third most common cancer in both men and women. Researchers have long known that blacks develop colon cancer at an earlier age and blacks with colon cancer are at higher risk of dying than whites. However, it has been difficult to identify why the differences in survival exist.
For more information, read Racial differences in BRAF/KRAS mutation rates and survival in stage III colon cancer patients, published in Journal of the National Cancer Institute in July 2015.