In conclusion, ethnicity is an important and complex characteristic that needs to be recognized and considered in the design and conduct of a global clinical study, as the safety, tolerability and response may vary between Asian and non-Asian patients. Asian ethnicity is a favorable prognostic factor for survival in patients with extensive-stage SCLC, and in patients with early- and advanced-stage NSCLC independent of smoking status. Furthermore, in advanced-stage NSCLC, a longer survival and higher response rate seen in Asian patients compared with caucasian patients in the period prior to the use of EGFR-TKIs, as well as following the introduction of EGFR-TKIs. Whether ethnic differences in lung cancer survival are attributed to genetic differences among races or are simply a surrogate marker of differences in access to healthcare because of socioeconomic differences is unclear. Carefully designed prospective studies focused on interethnic differences are warranted.
Future Oncol. 2012;8(4):451-462. © 2012 Future Medicine Ltd.