Examining the gastric cancer survival gap between Asians and whites in the United States

Hongbin Jin, Paulo S. Pinheiro, Karen E. Callahan, Sean F. Altekruse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Background: Globally, Asian countries bear a disproportionate gastric cancer burden. Asian Americans, the fastest growing minority population in the US, have higher gastric cancer survival than non-Hispanic whites (NHWs) despite higher incidence. Benefitting from uniform cancer registry standards within the US, we examine for the first time the heterogeneity in the Asian American population, which may elucidate the causes of these disparities. Methods: SEER gastric cancer data from 2000 to 2012 were used to calculate 5-year survival estimates for NHWs and the six largest Asian ethnicities. Multivariate analyses were performed to identify critical prognostic factors and survival disparities between Asian groups and NHWs. Results: We analyzed 33,313 NHW and 8473 Asian gastric cancer cases. All Asian groups had significantly higher 5-year survival than NHWs, at 29.8%. Among Asians, Koreans and Vietnamese had the highest and lowest survival, at 45.4% and 35.7%, respectively. The Korean survival advantage was largely attributable to relatively high proportions of localized stage and low proportions of cardia tumors. After adjusting for major prognostic factors, the survival disadvantage of NHWs, while attenuated, remained significant in comparison to all Asian groups (HR: 1.33, 95% CI: 1.24–1.43; reference: Korean). The survival disparities within the Asian groups vanished with adjustment. Conclusions: This study characterizes distinctive gastric cancer survival patterns among the six major Asian groups and NHWs in the US. The favorable survival for Koreans is largely attributable to specific clinical factors, particularly stage at diagnosis. The causes of the survival disadvantage for NHWs remain elusive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)573-582
Number of pages10
JournalGastric Cancer
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Asian American
  • Disparities
  • Epidemiology
  • Gastric cancer
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Cancer Research


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