Disparities in the treatment of patients with IL-2 for metastatic renal cell carcinoma

Christopher S. Saigal, Christopher M. Deibert, Julie Lai, Matthias Schonlau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Objectives: The incidence of metastatic renal cell cancer (mRCC) is rising. To date, interleukin-2 (IL-2) is the only treatment offering a complete response rate for mRCC. We wish to test the hypothesis that the combination of restricted availability and expense associated with IL-2 administration results in differential access to the medication based on race and sex, despite similar clinical indications for its use. Methods: We used data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program and the Centers for Medicare Services (CMS) to clinically characterize subjects with mRCC diagnosed from 1992 through 2002. We linked these subjects to claims identified in the CMS databases. We then assigned subjects to cohorts receiving radical nephrectomy, IL-2, both, or neither. A logistic model was created to identify factors that had significant independent effects on the receipt of IL-2. Results: Three thousand seven hundred thirty individuals were identified with mRCC. After controlling for other variables, female subjects were less likely to receive IL-2 (O.R. 0.80). African American subjects were also less likely to receive IL-2 (O.R 0.55). Married individuals were much more likely to receive IL-2 (O.R 1.9). Conclusions: African Americans and women were much less likely to be treated with IL-2 after controlling for relevant clinical variables. These data document that the only therapy offering a complete response to patients with mRCC is less frequently given to those who are African American or female. It is possible that the racial and gender-based disparities in treatment with IL-2 will be replicated with newer, expensive treatment options for mRCC. Further prospective investigation into mitigating barriers to receipt of effective care for mRCC is urgently needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)308-313
Number of pages6
JournalUrologic Oncology: Seminars and Original Investigations
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Disparities care
  • IL-2
  • Renal cell cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Urology


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