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Survival and Racial Differences of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer in the United States Military.

Publication Status: Published

Sponsoring Organization: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)

Sponsoring Office: Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

Congressionally Mandated: No

Funding Source: Undetermined

Release Date/Publication: October 01, 2015

Principle Investigator Status: Government

Primary DoD Data Source: Automated Central Tumor Registry

Secondary DoD Data Source:


Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States (US) Military and worldwide, with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounting for 87 % of cases.

Using a US military cohort who receives equal and open access to healthcare, we sought to examine demographic, clinical features and outcomes with NSCLC.

We conducted a retrospective cohort analysis of 4,751 patients, aged ≥ 18 years and diagnosed with a first primary NSCLC between 1 January 2003 and 31 December 2013 in the US Department of Defense (DoD) cancer registry.

Differences by patient and disease characteristics were compared using Chi-square and t-test. Kaplan Meier curves and Cox proportional hazards regression assessed overall survival.

The mean age at diagnosis was 66 years, 64 % were male, 72 % were Caucasian, 41 % were diagnosed at early stage, 77 % received treatment and 82 % had a history of tobacco use. Mean age at diagnosis was highest among Caucasians (67 years) and lowest among African Americans (AA; 62 years). Asian/Pacific Islanders (PI) were more likely to be female (p < 0.0001), have adenocarcinoma histology (p = 0.0003) and less likely to have a history of tobacco use (p < 0.0001) compared to other racial/ethnic groups. In multivariable survival analysis, older age, male gender, increasing stage, not receiving treatment, and tobacco history were associated with higher mortality risk. Untreated patients exhibited a 39 % higher mortality risk compared to treated patients (HR = 1.39; 95%CI = 1.23-1.57). Compared to Caucasian patients, Asian/PIs demonstrated a 20 % lower risk of death (HR = 0.80; 95%CI = 0.66-0.96). There was no difference in mortality risk between AAs and Hispanics compared to Caucasians.

The lack of significant outcome disparity between AAs and Caucasians and the earlier stage at diagnosis than usually seen in civilian populations suggest that equal access to healthcare may play a role in early detection and survival.


Brzezniak C, Satram-Hoang S, Goertz HP, Reyes C, Gunuganti A, Gallagher C, Carter CA. Survival and Racial Differences of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer in the United States Military. J Gen Intern Med. 2015 Oct;30(10):1406-12

Last Updated: February 21, 2019
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