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  • March 2009

    Racial Disparity in Breast Cancer Types

    Breast Cancer Research | Lesley A Stead et al.


    Triple-negative breast cancers are increased in black women regardless of age or body mass index


    Lesley A Stead, Timothy L Lash, Jerome E Sobieraj, Dorcas D Chi, Jennifer L Westrup, Marjory Charlot, Rita A Blanchard, John C Lee, Thomas C King and Carol L Rosenberg


    Breast Cancer Research, March 2009


    Breast cancer is a clinically and genetically heterogeneous disease, varying substantially in incidence and mortality according to race/ethnicity. To better understand the clinical and pathological features associated with breast cancer, researchers at the Boston University Medical Center created a database of all invasive breast cancer patients seen at their institution. Using this database, Stead et al investigated clinical and pathologic features of breast cancers in a randomized series of patients diagnosed in a tertiary care hospital serving a diverse population. The researchers focused on triple-negative (Tneg) tumors, along with other variables associated with poor prognosis.

    Based on 415 identified cases, researchers found that black women have three times the prevalence of Tneg tumors than non-black women, regardless of age and BMI. Other factors must determine tumor subtype. The higher prevalence of Tneg tumours in black women in all age and weight categories likely contributes to black women’s unfavorable breast cancer prognosis.

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