In a study published recently in PLOS ONE, researchers have highlighted a higher risk of tumor recurrence in African-American (AA) patients compared with European-American (EA) patients. This racial division in prognosis is thought to be largely attributed to recurrent breast cancer.
In order to investigate differences in recurrence rates and patterns between EA and AA patients following various forms of treatment, researchers from Georgia State University (GA, USA) analyzed clinical data obtained for 1850 AA breast cancer patients and 7931 EA breast cancer patients.
By comparing patterns and rates of recurrence following radiation, hormone and chemotherapy; researchers demonstrated that AA breast cancer patients displayed higher overall rates of tumor recurrence than EA patients.
First author Nikita Wright (Georgia State University) commented: “We found that, in general, AA breast cancer patients exhibit increased likelihood for tumor recurrence, particularly to regional and distant sites, after receiving any combination of adjuvant therapy compared to EA breast cancer patients. This higher incidence of tumor recurrence can contribute to a poorer prognosis.”
Wright continued: “Interestingly, we found that neoadjuvant chemotherapy actually reversed these recurrence trends. We found that AA breast cancer patients responded better to neoadjuvant chemotherapy than EA patients.”
Wright concluded: “Among patients who received neoadjuvant chemotherapy, AA exhibited trends of lower regional and distant tumor recurrence than EA, but higher local recurrence, which is easier to manage clinically and is associated with a relatively better prognosis.”
The team’s results further advocates that race should be considered among the crucial risk factors for breast cancer recurrence and that it should be taken into account when clinicians are deciding on treatment plans.
Wright N, Xia J, Cantuaria G et al Distinctions in Breast Tumor Recurrence Patterns Post-Therapy among Racially Distinct Populations PLOS ONE 12(1): e0170095. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0170095 (2017); Georgia State University press release http://news.gsu.edu/2017/01/19/breast-cancer-prognosis-african-american-patients/