Genomic differences in breast cancers in African American women identified

the ONA take:

Differences in breast cancer recurrence and survival between African American women and white women are well established; however, what drives those differences is not well known.

In this paper, published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, investigators describe genomic differences in the tumors of the two groups of women that may explain those disparities.

The impact of socioeconomic factors such as income, health insurance, and access to health services contributes to disparities in recurrence and survival for African American women with breast cancer. Those factors, however, do not explain the whole difference.

The investigators analyzed whole-exome sequencing data from the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Genome Atlas culled from the tumors of 105 African American women and 664 white women whose breast cancers were diagnosed between 1988 and 2013.

The five most prevalent tumor-specific mutations were the same for both groups, but more African American women’s tumors were driven by the TP53 mutation and the PIK3CA mutation was more common in the white women’s tumors.

Additional factors were found that suggest more aggressive cancers, such as prevalence of the basal-like and mesenchymal stem-like subtypes and the number of mutations within each tumor, were greater in African American women’s tumors.

Basal subtype tumors or those driven by the TP53 mutation were factors in faster tumor recurrence, and also more likely among African American women.

Genomic differences in breast cancers in African American women identified
Differences in breast cancer recurrence and survival between African American women and white women are well established.
A study from investigators at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Cancer Center has, for the first time, identified genomic differences between the breast tumors of African American and white women, differences that could contribute to the recognized differences in recurrence rate and survival.
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