Open Access Research article

Ovarian cancer survival population differences: a "high resolution study" comparing Philippine residents, and Filipino-Americans and Caucasians living in the US

Maria Theresa M Redaniel1, Adriano Laudico234, Maria Rica Mirasol-Lumague4, Adam Gondos1, Gemma Leonora Uy3, Jean Ann Toral5, Doris Benavides5 and Hermann Brenner1*

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Clinical Epidemiology and Aging Research, German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Germany

2 Manila Cancer Registry, Philippine Cancer Society, Manila, Philippines

3 Department of Surgery, Philippine General Hospital, University of the Philippines-Manila, Manila, Philippines

4 Department of Health-Rizal Cancer Registry, Rizal Medical Center, Pasig City, Philippines

5 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Philippine General Hospital, University of the Philippines-Manila, Manila, Philippines

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Cancer 2009, 9:340  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-9-340

Published: 24 September 2009



In contrast to most other forms of cancer, data from some developing and developed countries show surprisingly similar survival rates for ovarian cancer. We aimed to compare ovarian cancer survival in Philippine residents, Filipino-Americans and Caucasians living in the US, using a high resolution approach, taking potential differences in prognostic factors into account.


Using databases from the SEER 13 and from the Manila and Rizal Cancer Registries, age-adjusted five-year absolute and relative survival estimates were computed using the period analysis method and compared between Filipino-American ovarian cancer patients with cancer patients from the Philippines and Caucasians in the US. Cox proportional hazards modelling was used to determine factors affecting survival differences.


Despite more favorable distribution of age and cancer morphology and similar stage distribution, 5-year absolute and relative survival were lower in Philippine residents (Absolute survival, AS, 44%, Standard Error, SE, 2.9 and Relative survival, RS, 49.7%, SE, 3.7) than in Filipino-Americans (AS, 51.3%, SE, 3.1 and RS, 54.1%, SE, 3.4). After adjustment for these and additional covariates, strong excess risk of death for Philippine residents was found (Relative Risk, RR, 2.45, 95% confidence interval, 95% CI, 1.99-3.01). In contrast, no significant differences were found between Filipino-Americans and Caucasians living in the US.


Multivariate analyses disclosed strong survival disadvantages of Philippine residents compared to Filipino-American patients, for which differences in access to health care might have played an important role. Survival is no worse among Filipino-Americans than among Caucasians living in the US.