SABCS: Breast Cancer Outcomes Worse for Blacks Despite Similar Gene RS

Body fat and breast cancer

Body fat and breast cancer

Many health experts don't know why so black women are getting diagnosed with uterus cancer, but according to them, it could be because of genetic problems and another could be the lack of access to medical care. She's chair of oncology research at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

In an accompanying editorial, Isabel Pimentel, MD, of the University of Toronto, and colleagues, agreed with the study authors' conclusions: "Moving forward, more detailed elucidation of the contributions of body composition and metabolic factors to breast cancer risk will be important to help identify women most at risk and to inform preventive strategies", the editorialists said.

More than 250,000 women in the United States were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in 2017, according to the American Cancer Society. The disease claims the lives of about 40,000 people each year.

Black women with breast cancer have worse clinical outcomes even when 21-gene recurrence scores (RS) are similar, according to a study presented at the annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held from December 4 to 8 in Texas.

Findings from the same multinational research, known as the TAILORx trial, were released in June showing that most women with early breast cancer don't benefit from chemotherapy.

The company also said the test can predict those who will be unlikely to see benefits from extended endocrine treatments over a five-year period and can forgo therapy, as well as offer a long-term prognosis on the risk of disease recurrence.

In this latest analysis, patients' tumors were analyzed using a molecular test that looks at the expression of 21 genes associated with breast cancer recurrence. About 84 percent of the patients were white, 7 percent were black, 4 percent Asian and 4 percent were of other or unknown race. In terms of ethnicity, 7,635 (79 percent) were non-Hispanic, 889 (9 percent) were Hispanic, and 1,195 (12 percent) were of unknown ethnicity.

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The researchers found while studying the historical data that the new cases of uterine cancer have raised more than 0.7 percent every year from 1999 to 2015, and the number of new uterine cancer cases were higher among black women. These possible side effects should be further researched and taken into consideration when counseling patients, Leon-Ferre said. "Pill-counting wasn't done in this trial" to confirm what patients reported.

The researchers, from the Weill Cornell Medical College, set out to investigate the association between body fat and breast cancer risk in women with healthy BMI.

"This study, in addition to previously published work in this area, establishes that oxybutynin is an effective drug for treatment of hot flashes in patients who have relative or absolute contraindications to hormone-based therapy", says Dr. Leon-Ferre.

Partridge also noted that exercise behaviors have been shown to differ by race, and that white women tend to exercise more than black women, which could "have a profound impact" on cancer outcomes. The lining of the uterus is hormonally sensitive, so people with higher-than-normal estrogen are especially at risk, "but there are also social factors that contribute to this increase", he told NBC News, "like diabetes and obesity that have become more and more common with the introduction of processed foods in our diet".

"We have to chip away at it all, increase our understanding of disease differences and not lump [factors together] as much as we do", Partridge said.

"The fact that oxybutynin does not interfere with the metabolism of tamoxifen is an important consideration for breast cancer survivors, as some of the most effective non-hormonal treatments for hot flashes are thought to potentially decrease the efficacy of tamoxifen", Leon-Ferre added.

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