Study Explores Breast Cancer Characteristics in African-American and Hispanic/Latina Women 2017-04-04T20:25:50+00:00

Study Explores Breast Cancer Characteristics in African-American and Hispanic/Latina Women

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.

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Wu Y, Sarkissyan M, Eishimali Y, Vadgama JV. Triple-negative breast tumors in African-American and Hispanic/Latina women are high in CD44+, low in CD24+, and have loss of PTEN. PLOS One. 2013;8(10):e78259.[ Full text available here ]

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