Triple-negative breast cancer, a hard-to-treat type of cancer, is connected to African ancestry, states a new study.
Triple negative breast cancer is negative for three specific markers that are used to determine treatment: the estrogen receptor, the progesterone receptor and HER-2/neu.
But these treatments do not help women with triple-negative breast cancer. Outcome disparities are therefore likely to increase, because fewer African-American women are candidates for these newer treatments," says study author Lisa A. Newman, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Breast Care Center at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Researchers found that Ghanaian women were diagnosed at a younger age than American women, and with larger tumours and more advanced cancer.
Ghanaian women were also more likely to test negative for each of the three markers.
"African ancestry might be associated with other links to hereditary predisposition for particular patterns of breast cancer.
We hope that by studying breast cancer in African and African-American women we can identify biomarkers that might be useful for assessing risk or treating triple-negative breast cancer," says Newman, professor of surgery at the U-M Medical School.
The study, published online in the journal Cancer.