The influence of ethnicity on survival in malignant brain tumours in England: a population-based cohort study


Session type:

Hiba Wanis1, Elizabeth Davies1, Henrik Møller1, Keyoumars Ashkan1
1King’s College London (KCL)



In recent years the completeness of self-reported ethnicity data in the National Cancer Registry in England has greatly improved.  Using data from the Cancer Registry, this study aims to estimate the influence of ethnicity on survival for primary malignant brain tumours.


Data on adult patients diagnosed with malignant brain tumour between 01/01/2012 and 31/12/2017 were extracted for  the following variables: age, sex, ethnicity, socio-economic deprivation, geographical area of residence, comorbidity, tumour morphology, treatment and route to diagnosis.   Ethnicities were then assigned into broader groups.  Primary brain tumours of malignant behaviour include gliomas, primary CNS lymphoma and unclassified malignant neoplasms.  Univariate and multivariate Cox proportional hazards regressions were used to estimate hazard ratios (HR) for the survival of each ethnic group up to one year following diagnosis.  


A total of 24,319 patients were included in the analysis with 95.6% having a known ethnicity: 85.5% were White British, 4.2% Any Other White (includes White Irish and White Other), 2.8% Other Ethnic Groups (includes mixed ethnicities and any other ethnic groups), 1.3% Indian, 0.8% Pakistani, and with less than 0.4% for each of the Bangladeshi, Chinese, Black African and Black Caribbean groups.   After fully adjusting for variables, patients with an Indian background (HR 0.84, p=0.025), Any Other White (HR 0.83, p<0.001), Other Ethnic Group (HR 0.70, p<0.001) and Unknown/Not Stated ethnicity (HR 0.81, p<0.001), had better one-year survival than White British. 


This is the first study to report survival differences in malignant brain tumours of various morphologies, between well-recorded and self-defined ethnic groups for the whole of  England.  These findings inform investigations of whether death is equally well-reported between the different groups or whether better prognostic factors are operating to improve survival.

Impact statement

This is the first study to report the impact of ethnicity on the survival for malignant brain tumour of various morphologes in England.