Racial Disparity in Breast Cancer Outcomes

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African-American women with hormone-receptor positive, HER2-negative breast cancer experienced significantly higher rates of recurrence and mortality than white women with the disease, even when they had the same treatment, according to results of a large, phase III clinical trial presented at the 2018 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. The findings are consistent with previous research and underscore the importance of enrolling more minorities in cancer clinical trials.

Researchers evaluated treatment outcomes and race in about 10,000 women with early breast cancer involved in the TAILORx (Trial Assigning Individualized Options for Treatment) trial. The 21-gene Oncotype DX recurrence score was used to determine cancer recurrence risk in study participants. Those at low risk were treated with hormone therapy alone; those at high risk were treated with hormone therapy and chemotherapy; and those at intermediate risk of recurrence were randomized to receive hormone therapy and chemotherapy, or hormone therapy alone.

Among study participants, 84 percent were white or Hispanic and 7 percent were African American. After adjusting for several factors, the researchers found that African-American women had a 39 percent higher risk of breast cancer recurrence and a 52 percent higher risk of death compared to white women overall. In the intermediate-risk group, African Americans had an 80 percent higher risk of recurrence and a 67 percent higher risk of death.

Sourced from: American Association for Cancer Research