Triple-Negative Breast Cancer: Black Women Face More Risk

The Post Chronicle
New Jersey

October 27, 2010

Triple negative breast cancer lack three hormone receptors, making it much more difficult to treat, say experts.

Dr. Lisa Newman of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor explains this harder-to-treat triple negative cancer is negative for three specific biomarkers, each linked to higher aggressiveness and used to determine treatment: the estrogen receptor, the progesterone receptor, and the HER-2/neu receptor.

20 to 30 percent are triple negatives in African American women versus about 10 to 15 percent in white women.

“The most significant recent advances in breast cancer treatment have involved targeting these three receptors,” Newman, the study co-author, in a statement. “We hope that by studying breast cancer in African and African-American women we can identify biomarkers that might be useful for assessing risk or treating triple-negative breast cancer.”

The study, published in Cancer, finds women in Ghana are more likely than American women to test negative for each of the three markers. Among women with breast cancer the largest percentage testing triple negative were the African women — 82 percent — followed by African-American women — 26 percent — and white American women — 16 percent.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.