Racial differences in acute lymphocytic leukemia mortality and incidence trends.
Mortality and morbidity rates for childhood leukemia are examined with reference to time trends and racial differences. Prior to 1964, white and nonwhite children had very different acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) mortality rates. With the advent of successful chemotherapy, the mortality rate of ALL in white children has decreased resulting in virtually no racial differences in ALL mortality. The reasons for a stable ALL mortality rate in nonwhite children despite successful chemotherapy include poor access to health care, undefined socioeconomic factors and a biologically different type of ALL occurring in nonwhite children. Recent data from two cancer surveys (1969-1971, 1973-1976) reveal that nonwhite children have a lower incidence of ALL than white children. Underreporting in the nonwhite children could partly account for the difference, but other contributing factors might include a genetic predisposition, undefined socioeconomic influences, and perhaps, a viral agent. Further studies of the factors contributing to racial differences in ALL incidence and mortality are needed.
Pratt, JA; Velez, R; Brender, JD; Manton, KG
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