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Keywords:

  • breast cancer;
  • African Americans;
  • treatment;
  • response

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Breast cancer mortality rates are higher among African-American women compared with white American women, yet little is known regarding ethnicity-related variation in patterns of primary surgical treatment, locoregional recurrence rates, and response to induction chemotherapy.

METHODS

The available literature was reviewed to evaluate outcome from breast-conservation therapy in African-American women and response rates to systemic therapy.

RESULTS

Breast-conservation therapy appears to be underused among African-American women, a pattern that is noted also among white women with breast carcinoma. Higher rates of locoregional recurrence are seen among African-American women regardless of whether they receive breast-conserving treatment or undergo mastectomy, and this appears to be a function of primary tumor biology. Response rates to appropriately delivered systemic therapy are similar for African-American patients and white patients.

CONCLUSIONS

Despite the apparent increased aggressiveness of disease seen in African-American women with breast carcinoma, patterns of response to local and systemic therapy are similar to the patterns seen in white women with breast carcinoma. Cancer 2003;97(1 Suppl):246–52. © 2003 American Cancer Society.

DOI 10.1002/cncr.11015