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Blacks Have Poorer Prognosis After Breast Cancer Therapy

Higher proportion of estrogen receptor-negative disease may be reason for increased risk

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Black women with breast cancer have a poorer prognosis after treatment with mastectomy and doxorubicin-based chemotherapy than other women, according to a report to be published in the Dec. 1 issue of Cancer. In addition to socioeconomic status, tumor biology may play a significant role in the disparity.

Wendy Woodward, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, retrospectively reviewed records from two independent cohorts of breast cancer patients, all treated with mastectomy and either adjuvant or neo-adjuvant doxorubicin-based chemotherapy, to identify factors causing black women to have poorer outcomes following treatment.

Black patients were found to have later-stage tumors, more estrogen receptor-negative disease and worse 10-year survival compared with white and Hispanic populations. Survival differences remained after multivariate analyses.

While breast cancer awareness and screening has increased in the black population, the authors believe "it is equally important to further elucidate whether differences in tumor biology between races also contribute to the noted disparity in outcome."

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