University of Illinois Cancer Center member Kent Hoskins, MD, is the lead author on a study that examined national data about women with early-stage, estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer and found that social determinants of health and tumor biology contributed equally to higher rates of death among Black women.
The study, published in JAMA Oncology, is the first study of breast cancer disparities to include a genomic biomarker of tumor aggression in the analysis of the proportion of the disparity mediated by tumor biology. Other Cancer Center member authors on the study are Abiola Ibraheem, MD, Garth Rauscher, PhD, and Oana Danciu, MD, Associate Director of Clinical Research at the Cancer Center. Hoskins is the Cancer Center’s Associate Director of Translational Research.
The researchers say that their findings, also featured in research news on UIC Today, validate the role of social determinants of health as a root cause of racial disparities in breast cancer outcomes and also suggest that to eliminate the survival gap, which was first documented more than four decades ago, we need “a clearer picture of the biological mechanisms underlying the aggressive tumor phenotype that is more prevalent in Black women, and insight into the complex relationship between adverse social conditions, ancestry-related genetic variants and tumor biology.”