Puerto Rican women with triple-negative breast cancer subtype have an increased risk of breast cancer death, according to a study presented at the 2010 AACR Conference on The Science of Cancer Health Disparities.

For the study, researchers analyzed data for 974 female patients with invasive breast cancer, among which 16.6% were triple negative, neither overexpressing HER2neu nor receptive to estrogen or progesterone.

The scientists reported that the risk of breast cancer death for Puerto Rican women who had the triple-negative breast cancer subtype was more than twice as high compared to women with other tumor subtypes. In addition, women who were age 50 years or younger at the time of diagnosis and had regional/distant disease were also more likely to die as a result of their breast cancer.

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“Findings, which were consistent with results described in previous studies of U.S. populations, will be useful in the development of cancer control strategies in Puerto Rico and may have an impact on future studies of targeted therapies to improve breast cancer survival in other Hispanic populations,” concluded Ana Ortiz Martinez, MPH, PhD, associate professor and researcher at the University of Puerto Rico Cancer Center and the department of biostatistics and epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Puerto Rico.