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Racial Differences Seen for Use of Proton Beam Therapy

Disparities greatest most recently and for cancers for which PBT is the recommended radiation therapy modality

FRIDAY, April 29, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Black patients are less likely to receive proton beam therapy (PBT) than White patients, according to a study published online April 26 in JAMA Network Open.

Leticia M. Nogueira, Ph.D., from the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues assessed racial disparities in the use of PBT among U.S. adults newly diagnosed with PBT-eligible cancer (2004 through 2018). The analysis included 5.2 million PBT-eligible patients (13.6 percent Black).

The researchers found that Black patients were less likely to be treated with PBT than their White counterparts (0.3 versus 0.5 percent; odds ratio, 0.67). For cancers in which PBT is the recommended radiation therapy modality, racial disparities were greater (0.4 versus 0.8 percent; odds ratio, 0.49) versus cancers in which evidence of PBT efficacy is still under investigation (0.3 versus 0.4 percent; odds ratio, 0.75). Over time, racial disparities in PBT receipt among patients for whom PBT was recommended increased (annual percent change, 0.09) and were greatest in 2018 (the most recent year for which data were available).

“These findings suggest that efforts other than increasing the number of facilities that provide PBT will be needed to eliminate disparities,” the authors write. “Future research should investigate the contribution of practitioner, facility, and health care system characteristics (such as referral patterns and reimbursement policies) to the racial disparity in receipt of PBT.”

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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