Date of publication: May 4, 2013
In a study recently published in BMC Cancer, racial differences in breast cancer mortality were seen in women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, but not in women with triple-negative breast cancer.
Triple-negative breast cancer is known to be more common in black women than in white women, but there’s been inconsistent information about whether survival with this type of cancer varies by race. Black women tend to have worse breast cancer survival than white women overall, but this may vary by type of breast cancer.
To further explore breast cancer survival by race and type of breast cancer, researchers conducted a study among 1,204 women (523 black and 681 white) between the ages of 35 and 64. Women were followed for roughly 10 years from the time of breast cancer diagnosis.
Breast cancer was classified as triple-negative; hormone receptor-positive/HER2-negative; hormone receptor-positive/HER2-positive; or hormone receptor-negative/HER2-positive. Information was also collected about a protein known as p53; cancers that contain abnormal amounts of this protein may behave differently than other cancers.
- Among women with triple-negative breast cancer, survival did not vary by race.
- Among older women (50-64) with breast cancer that was hormone receptor-positive and HER2-negative, black women had worse survival than white women. This seemed to be restricted to women with cancers that were also p53-negative.
These results suggest that black-white differences in breast cancer survival may not apply to women with triple-negative breast cancer. Survival with triple-negative breast cancer was similar among the black and white women in this study.