Racial Disparities and Trends in Pancreatic Cancer Incidence and Mortality in the United States

Anna Tavakkoli, Amit G. Singal, Akbar K. Waljee, B. Joseph Elmunzer, Sandi L. Pruitt, Thomas McKey, Joel H. Rubenstein, James M. Scheiman, Caitlin Claffey Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Background & Aims: Pancreatic cancer is one of the few cancers in the United States that is increasing in incidence. Little is known about racial disparities in incidence and mortality. We characterized racial disparities in pancreatic cancer incidence and mortality in different locations, time periods, age groups, and disease stages. Methods: We obtained data on the incidence of pancreatic cancer from the National Program of Cancer Registries and the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program of cancer registries from 2001 through 2015 on incidence, demographics, tumor characteristics, and population estimates for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. We obtained data on mortality from pancreatic cancer from the National Center for Health Statistics during the same time period. We plotted incidence rates by 10-year age group (30–39 years through 70–79 years and 80 years or older) separately for white and black patients. We calculated incidence and mortality rate ratios with 95% CIs for categories of age and race. To determine racial disparities, we calculated incidence rate ratios (IRR) for black vs white patients and mortality rate ratios by state. Results: Disparities in pancreatic cancer incidence and mortality in black vs white patients decreased over 5-year time periods from 2001 through 2015. However, among all age groups, from 2001 through 2015, pancreatic cancer incidence and mortality were higher among blacks than whites (incidence, 24.7 vs 19.4 per 100,000; IRR, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.26–1.29; mortality, 23.3 vs 18.4 per 100,000; IRR, 1.27; 95% CI, 1.26–1.28). Black patients had a higher incidence of distant pancreatic cancer (IRR, 1.32; 95% CI, 1.31–1.34) and a lower incidence of local cancer. Incidence increased in whites and blacks of younger age groups and was most prominent among persons 30–39 years old. Incidence increased by 57% among younger whites (IRR, 1.70; 95% CI, 1.43–2.02) and by 44% among blacks (IRR, 1.47; 95% CI, 1.01–2.15) from 2001 through 2015. Mortality remained stable among blacks and slightly increased among whites during this time period. Conclusions: In the United States, there are racial disparities in pancreatic incidence and mortality that vary with location, patient age, and cancer stage. Further research is needed to identify factors associated with increasing incidence and persistence of racial disparities in pancreatic cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-178.e10
JournalClinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2020


  • Ethnic
  • Neoplasia
  • Pancreas
  • SEER

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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