Date of publication: October 22, 2013
In a study of African-American and Hispanic/Latina women with breast cancer, there was a high prevalence of triple-negative breast cancer. These results were published in PLOS One. Studies have previously reported that African-American women have high rates of triple-negative breast cancer, but the specific biologic characteristics of these cancers are still being explored. To provide additional information about the characteristics of breast cancers in African-American and Hispanic/Latina women, researchers collected information from 318 women from South Los Angeles who were participating in an ongoing study.
- Hormone receptor-positive/HER2-negative breast cancer was the most common type of breast cancer, accounting for 49% of breast cancers in both African-American and Hispanic/Latina women.
- Triple-negative breast cancer was the second most common type of breast cancer, and occurred in 35% of the African-American women and 28% of the Hispanic/Latina women.
- The researchers evaluated several biological characteristics of the breast cancers. One of these—loss of a protein known as PTEN—was common in triple-negative breast cancers, and was linked with worse survival in African-American women. Loss of PTEN did not appear to affect survival in Hispanic/Latina women.
Additional research into the biologic underpinnings of certain types of breast cancer may suggest new ways to treat these cancers.