Breast cancer risk assessment models

Applicability to African-American women


  • Melissa L. Bondy Ph.D.,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Epidemiology, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas
    • Department of Epidemiology, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, TX 77030
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    • Fax: (713) 792-0807

  • Lisa A. Newman M.D.

    1. Breast Care Center, Department of Surgery, Division of Surgical Oncology, University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan
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Mortality rates are higher among African-American women with breast cancer than they are among white women. This population subset can benefit from available risk reduction strategies. Optimal public health gains from chemoprevention strategies depend on the ability to assess accurately the risk for the individual. However, it is not known if existing breast cancer prediction models are accurate predictors of the disease among African-American women.


Literature was reviewed for breast cancer risk prediction models and their validation studies. Reported data were also reviewed regarding the strength of established breast cancer risk factors for African-American women.


The two currently accepted breast cancer risk assessment models, the Gail Model and the Claus Model, were designed primarily to provide risk assessments for white women. Neither model has been validated in African-American women. Reported data are inconsistent regarding the prevalence and strength of risk factors included in these models.


Efforts should be made to validate existing risk assessment models in African-American women and future research should be directed at the identification of more reliable risk assessment features. Cancer 2003;97(1 Suppl):230–5. © 2003 American Cancer Society.

DOI 10.1002/cncr.11018