Study finds racial disparities in breast cancer prognosis testing

Black women have higher recurrence and mortality rates than non-Hispanic white women for certain types of breast cancer, according to a University of Illinois Chicago researcher’s study published recently in JAMA Oncology

Kent Hoskins, MD, associate professor in the UIC College of Medicine’s division of hematology/oncology, and co-leader of the Breast Cancer Research group in the University of Illinois Cancer Center, published the study, “Association of race/ethnicity and the 21-gene Recurrence Score with breast cancer-specific mortality among US women” in the Jan. 21 online issue.

Hoskins and the research team sought to discover if breast cancer-specific mortality among women with estrogen receptor-positive, axillary node-negative breast cancer differs by race within risk categories defined by the Oncotype Recurrence Score, or RS, which is a genomic test that analyzes the activity of a group of genes that can affect how a cancer is likely to behave and respond to treatment. They also wanted to find out if the prognostic accuracy of the RS differs by race.  

“Using data from the national SEER registry that included more than 70,000 patients across the U.S., we found there was a much higher mortality rate for African American women with the most common subtype of breast cancer event when they are diagnosed at an early stage,” Hoskins said.