BackgroundHigher breast cancer mortality rates for African-American than non-Hispanic White women are well documented; however, it remains uncertain if this disparity occurs in disease subgroups defined by tumor molecular markers and stage at diagnosis. We examined racial differences in outcome according to subtype and stage in a diverse, population-based series of 103,498 patients.
MethodsWe obtained data for all invasive breast cancers diagnosed between January 1, 2005, and December 31, 2012, and followed through December 31, 2012, among 93,760 non-Hispanic White and 9,738 African-American women in California. Molecular subtypes were categorized according to tumor expression of hormone receptor (HR, based on estrogen and progesterone receptors) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). Cox proportional hazards models were used to calculate relative hazard (RH) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for breast cancer-specific mortality.
ResultsAfter adjustment for patient, tumor, and treatment characteristics, outcomes were comparable by race for stage I or IV cancer regardless of subtype, and HR(+)/HER2(+) or HR(-)/HER2(+) cancer regardless of stage. We found substantially higher hazards of breast cancer death among African-American women with stage II/III HR(+)/HER2(-) (RH, 1.31; 95% CI, 1.03-1.65; and RH, 1.39; 95% CI, 1.10-1.75, respectively) and stage III triple-negative cancers relative to Whites.
ConclusionsThere are substantial racial/ethnic disparities among patients with stages II/III HR(+)/HER2(-) and stage III triple-negative breast cancers but not for other subtype and stage.
ImpactThese data provide insights to assess barriers to targeted treatment (e.g., trastuzumab or endocrine therapy) of particular subtypes of breast cancer among African-American patients.