From the Journals

U.S. study finds racial, gender differences in surgical treatment of dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans



Racial and ethnic disparities persist in the use of Mohs surgery to treat dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans, according to the results of a retrospective cohort study of more than 2,000 patients.

Current guidelines recommend Mohs micrographic surgery (MMS) as a first-line treatment for dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans, but the procedure may be inaccessible for certain populations and in some geographic areas, wrote Kevin J. Moore, MD, and Michael S. Chang, BA, of the department of dermatology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, and colleagues. Wide local excision (WLE) is a less effective option; recurrence rates associated with this treatment are approximately 30% because of incomplete margin assessment, compared with about 3% with MMS, they noted.

In the study, published as a letter in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, the investigators identified 2,370 cases of dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans using data from the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Registry from 2000 to 2018. The mean age of the patients was 44 years; 55% were women. A total of 539 patients underwent MMS and 1,831 underwent WLE.

Overall, patients in the WLE group were more likely to be younger, male, Black, and single, the researchers noted. Those who had WLE, they added, were “more commonly deceased at study end date, recipients of adjuvant chemotherapy or radiation, and had truncal tumor locations.”

In a multivariate analysis, patients who were non-Hispanic, White, or other races (including American Indian, Alaskan Native, and Pacific Islander), were significantly more likely to undergo MMS compared with Black and Hispanic patients (adjusted odd ratio [aOR], 1.46, 1.66, and 2.42, respectively). Women were also significantly more likely than were men to undergo MMS (aOR, 1.24). Individuals living in the Western part of the United States were significantly more likely to undergo MMS.

The study findings were limited by several factors including the inability to control for insurance status, lack of data on re-excision, and the use of aggregate case data, the researchers noted. However, the results highlight the disparities in use of MMS for dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans, they said.

“Because MMS is associated with significantly improved outcomes, identifying at-risk patient populations and barriers to accessing MMS is essential,” the researchers noted. The results suggest that disparities persist in accessing MMS for many patients, notably Black and Hispanic males, they said. “Further work is necessary to identify mechanisms for increasing access to MMS,” they concluded.

The study received no outside funding. The researchers had no financial conflicts to disclose.

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