Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Young black women in Britain are more likely than their white counterparts to develop worse breast cancer with a poorer prognosis
This group has larger, more aggressive tumors with a higher risk of recurrence. This is despite having the same access to treatment. As yet unidentified biological factors may be to blame, say the Cancer Research UK investigators. Such women might respond less well to breast cancer drugs like tamoxifen because of the genetic make-up of their tumor, they say. The research team, based at the University of Southampton, looked at data from nearly 3,000 women in Britain - of whom 118 were black - who were younger than 40 when they were diagnosed with breast cancer. Even when individual differences such as body weight and treatment variations such as availability of chemotherapy were taken into account, black ethnicity remained an independent indicator of poor prognosis. Dr Ellen Copson and colleagues say that there have been similar findings in the United States, suggesting this could be an international trend, but further research is needed to try to pin down the exact cause or causes.