Patterns of Care and Data Quality in a National Registry of Black and White Patients with Merkel Cell Carcinoma

Abbas Rattani, Jeremy Gaskins, Grant McKenzie, Virginia Kate Scharf, Kristy Broman, Maria Pisu, Ashley Holder, Neal Dunlap, David Schwartz, Mehran B. Yusuf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Merkel Cell Carcinoma (MCC) is a rare cancer most commonly affecting White patients; less is known for Black patients. We aim to report presentation, treatment, and quality of registry data by race with a secondary endpoint of overall survival. We conducted a retrospective cohort analysis between 2006–2017 via the National Cancer Database of Black and White MCC patients with and without known staging information. Multivariable logistic, proportional odds logistic, and baseline category logistic regression models were used for our primary endpoint. Multivariable Cox regression was used to interrogate overall survival. Multiple imputation was used to mitigate missing data bias. 34,503 patients with MCC were included (2566 Black patients). Black patients were younger (median age 52 vs. 72, p < 0.0001), had higher rates of immunosuppression (28% vs. 14%, p = 0.0062), and were more likely to be diagnosed at a higher stage (proportional OR = 1.41, 95% CI 1.25–1.59). No differences were noted by race across receipt of definitive resection (DR), though Black patients did have longer time from diagnosis to DR. Black patients were less likely to receive adjuvant radiation. Black patients were more likely to have missing cancer stage (OR = 1.69, CI 1.52–1.88). Black patients had decreased adjusted risk of mortality (HR 0.73, 0.65–0.81). Given the importance of registry analyses for rare cancers, efforts are needed to ensure complete data coding. Paramount to ensuring equitable access to optimal care for all is the recognition that MCC can occur in Black patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5059
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • epidemiology
  • Merkel Cell Carcinoma
  • race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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