Racial Disparities in the Clinical Presentation and Prognosis of Patients with Mycosis Fungoides.J Natl Med Assoc 2019JN
Racial and gender disparities in mycosis fungoides (MF) are understudied. The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that worse prognosis in blacks with MF is mediated by higher disease stage at diagnosis and by earlier disease onset in black females.
We conducted retrospective chart review of 337 patients with clinically-suspected MF seen at Johns Hopkins between 2003 and 2018, requiring biopsy-proven disease for study inclusion. Patient demographics, initial stage/percent body surface area (BSA) involvement, pathology type, flow cytometry results, and treatment regimens were recorded.
Of 303 patients with confirmed MF, 166 (55%) were white, 107 (35%) black, 10 (3.3%) Middle Eastern, 6 (2.0%) Asian, and 14 (4.6%) Hispanic/other. Blacks were 3 times as likely (95% CI: 1.2, 8.0) to have Stage 2 disease to have Stage 2 disease at diagnosis as compared to whites as whites. In females, blacks were younger at diagnosis (p = 0.003) and at death (p = 0.008) compared to whites. In males, blacks had 4 times the odds of late-stage disease (p = 0.017) and presented with 19% greater BSA involvement on average compared to whites (p < 0.001).
Compared to their white counterparts in this cohort, black males were diagnosed with MF at a higher stage with greater skin involvement while black females were diagnosed and died earlier. Earlier recognition of MF in skin of color and closer follow-up of black females with early-onset, aggressive disease may help to mitigate disparities in outcomes.