Saturday, August 14, 2021

Removing race from kidney function estimates may damage care of black cancer patients


News Release 13-Aug-2021
Removing race from kidney function estimates may impact care of black cancer patients
Peer-Reviewed Publication
University of Pittsburgh


PITTSBURGH, Aug. 13, 2021 – An accurate assessment of a patient’s kidney function is critical for determining eligibility for anticancer treatments. In a paper published today in The Lancet Oncology, University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences researchers found that removing race-based adjustments from equations estimating the kidney function of oncology patients may negatively impact care for Black patients with cancer.

The analysis showed that removal of race from these calculations—as proposed by prominent health organizations—would make many Black people ineligible for cancer treatments and may prompt oncologists to give Black patients a lower dose of anticancer medications than clinically needed.

The statistics are sobering: Black patients in the United States are more frequently diagnosed with cancer and are more likely to die from it than white Americans. The researchers argue that because Black Americans are already more likely to be undertreated, an optimal dose of anticancer drugs often makes a difference between life and death—and that, until practical alternatives become available, race remains a factor that should not be ignored in considerations of dosages for cancer treatments.


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