Genetics Make Black Women More Likely to Develop and Die of Aggressive Breast Cancer Than White Women

Genetics Make Black Women More Likely to Develop and Die of Aggressive Breast Cancer Than White Women
The risk of developing breast cancer is similar between white and black women, but black women are 42 percent more likely to die from aggressive subtypes of the disease, according to a study. A different distribution of genetic mutations may be the reason for the disparity, researchers said. They said the findings could lead to an improvement in cancer risk assessment for black women and encourage the development of personalized therapies to fight aggressive subtypes of breast cancer. The study, “Comparison Of Breast Cancer Molecular Features And Survival By African And European Ancestry In The Cancer Genome Atlas,” was published in the journal JAMA Oncology. Researchers looked at the records of 930 breast cancer patients, 776 of them white women with a mean age at diagnosis of 59.5 years and 154 of them black women with a mean age at diagnosis of 55.6 years. The team compared breast cancer-free interval, tumor features, and genetic mutations between the groups. Black women had a shorter breast cancer-free interval and carried more mutations in their DNA. Black women with hormone receptor positive, HER2-negative breast cancer also were at greater risk of the disease recurring than white women, researchers said. In addition, black women were more likely to be diagnosed at a younger age and develop aggressive breast-cancer subtypes, such as basal-like or triple-negative cancers. The tumors in these subtypes lack estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors and HER2, a gene that often plays a role in breast cancer. Another finding was that genes expressed several molecules d
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