Screening mammography mitigates breast cancer disparities through early detection of triple negative breast cancer

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Clinical imaging


PURPOSE: Screening mammography improves breast cancer survival through early detection, but Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) is more difficult to detect on mammography and has lower survival compared to non-TNBC, even when detected at early stages. TNBC is twice as common among African American (AA) compared to White American (WA) women, thereby contributing to the 40% higher breast cancer mortality rates observed in AA women. The role of screening mammography in addressing breast cancer disparities is therefore worthy of study.

METHODS: Outcomes were evaluated for TNBC patients treated in the prospectively-maintained databases of academic cancer programs in two metropolitan cities of the Northeast and Midwest, 1998-2018.

RESULTS: Of 756 TNBC cases, 301 (39.8%) were mammographically screen-detected. 46% of 189 AA and 38.5% of 460 WA patients had screen-detected TNBC (p = 0.16). 25.3% of 257 TNBC cases ≤50 years old had screen-detected disease compared to 47.3% of 499 TNBC cases >50 years old (p < 0.0001). 220/301 (73.1%) screen-detected TNBC cases were T1 lesions versus 118/359 (32.9%) non-screen-detected cases (p < 0.0001). Screen-detected TNBC was more likely to be node-negative (51.9% v. 40.4%; p < 0.0001). Five-year overall survival was better in screen-detected TNBC compared to nonscreen-detected TNBC (92.8% v. 81.5%; p < 0.0001) in the entire cohort. The magnitude of this effect was most significant among AA patients (Fig. 1). Screening-related survival patterns were similar among AA and WA patients in both cities.

CONCLUSION: Data from two different cities demonstrates the value of screening mammography to mitigate breast cancer disparities in AA women through the early detection of TNBC.

Medical Subject Headings

African Americans; Breast Neoplasms; Early Detection of Cancer; Female; Humans; Mammography; Middle Aged; Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms; Whites

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