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

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Annals of surgical oncology : the official journal of the Society of Surgical Oncology


INTRODUCTION: Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is more common among African American (AA) and western sub-Saharan African breast cancer (BC) patients compared with White/Caucasian Americans (WA) and Europeans. Little is known about TNBC in east Africa.

METHODS: Invasive BC diagnosed 1998-2014 were evaluated: WA and AA patients from the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, Michigan; Ghanaian/west Africans from the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, Ghana; and Ethiopian/east Africans from the St. Paul's Hospital Millennium Medical College in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Histopathology and immunohistochemistry for estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), and HER2/neu expression was performed in Michigan on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded samples from all cases.

RESULTS: A total of 234 Ghanaian (mean age 49 years), 94 Ethiopian (mean age 43 years), 272 AA (mean age 60 years), and 321 WA (mean age 62 years; p = 0.001) patients were compared. ER-negative and TNBC were more common among Ghanaian and AA compared with WA and Ethiopian cases (frequency ER-negativity 71.1 and 37.1 % vs. 19.8 and 28.6 % respectively, p < 0.0001; frequency TNBC 53.2 and 29.8 % vs. 15.5 and 15.0 %, respectively, p < 0.0001). Among patients younger than 50 years, prevalence of TNBC remained highest among Ghanaians (50.8 %) and AA (34.3 %) compared with WA and Ethiopians (approximately 16 % in each; p = 0.0002).

CONCLUSIONS: This study confirms an association between TNBC and West African ancestry; TNBC frequency among AA patients is intermediate between WA and Ghanaian/West Africans consistent with genetic admixture following the west Africa-based trans-Atlantic slave trade. TNBC frequency was low among Ethiopians/East Africans; this may reflect less shared ancestry between AA and Ethiopians.

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Adult; African Americans; Ethiopia; European Continental Ancestry Group; Female; Ghana; Humans; Middle Aged; Neoplasm Staging; Phenotype; Prevalence; Receptor, ErbB-2; Receptors, Estrogen; Receptors, Progesterone; Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms; United States

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