Clarifying the Link between Breast Cancers in African American and West African Women

June 1, 2016


Take-Home Message:

This data supports the theory that triple negative breast cancers in African American women have West African origins.


Comparative Analysis of Breast Cancer Phenotypes in African American, White American, and West Versus East African Patients: Correlation Between African Ancestry and Triple Negative Breast Cancer

Authors: Newman, L., Jiagge, E., Bensenhaver, J. et al.
Source: Abstract #8, 69th Annual Cancer Symposium Society of Surgical Oncology, March 2016.

African American women are more likely than White American women to have triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). Because of the heterogeneity of African American heritages, it is unclear if the frequency of TNBC in this group is indeed due to African ancestry.

Breast cancer tumors from African American, White American, West African (Ghana) and East African (Ethiopia) women were collected between 1998 and 2014 and compared. The percentages of TNBC were observed. TNBC was more common among Ghanaian and African American women compared to White American women, and Ethiopian women had the lowest frequency. The values were 53.2%, 29.8%, 15.5% and 15%, respectively. These relationships were the same among women diagnosed with breast cancer at younger than 50 years of age.

The group concluded that there is an association between TNBC and West African ancestry in African American women.

Watch video with Dr. Lisa Newman discussing the article: