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J Thorac Oncol. 2007 Mar;2(3):180-90.

Ethnic disparities in conditional survival of patients with non-small cell lung cancer.

Author information

  • 1Department of Radiation Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon 97239-3098, USA. wangsa@ohsu.edu

Erratum in

  • J Thorac Oncol. 2007 May;2(5):383.



Conditional survival (CS) is an accurate estimate of survival probability for patients who have already survived at least 1 year after diagnosis. The purpose of this study was to determine whether ethnicity plays a role in 5-year CS rates for patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).


Using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database, we analyzed 96,480 patients with NSCLC diagnosed between 1988 and 1995. Patients were divided into five ethnic groups: White (non-Hispanic), Hispanic, African American, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Native American/Alaskan. Using the life table method, we computed observed 5-year CS rates for patients who had already survived up to 5 years after diagnosis. Results were analyzed by stage, age, sex, and histology.


In general, 5-year CS rates increase for all ethnicities as time from diagnosis increases, but African Americans continued to have lower CS rates compared with other ethnic groups, even up to 5 years from diagnosis. When analyzed by stage, Hispanics with stage IV disease showed the greatest improvement in CS rate, increasing to 73% at 5 years from diagnosis. Among patients older than 70 years, African Americans had the lowest CS at 5 years--only 28%, compared with 40% to 47% for other groups. When analyzed by histology, Hispanics with large cell carcinoma had the worst CS rate (35% at 5 years).


For patients with NSCLC surviving a period of time after diagnosis, 5-year CS rates vary by ethnicity. CS can provide accurate prognostic information for patients with NSCLC who have already survived several years after diagnosis.

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