Black Cervical Cancer Patients Have Fewer Chemotherapy-Related Side Effects

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2008-12-04 12:26

Black women who have advanced and recurrent cervical cancer seem to have fewer side effects from a commonly used form of chemotherapy than white women, according to a study published in the November issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Reuters Health reports. Cisplatin, a platinum-based version of chemotherapy, is a common treatment for various types of cancer.

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For the study, lead researcher Steven Plaxe of the University of California-San Diego examined data pooled from three studies that included information on 374 white and 125 black women who were treated with a variety of chemotherapy drug combinations for cervical cancer, including cisplatin.

Researchers found that 63% of black women, compared with 82% of white women, had severe neutropenia, a side effect related to frequent chemotherapy that is characterized by a drop in a white blood cell called the neutrophil. Black women also were less likely to have two other chemotherapy-related side effects -- leukopenia, an abnormally low white blood cell count, and thrombocytopenia, a reduction in platelet cells.

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