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Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2012 Jul;134(2):801-9. doi: 10.1007/s10549-012-2099-0. Epub 2012 May 31.

Examination of ancestral informative markers and self-reported race with tumor characteristics of breast cancer among Black and White women.

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  • 1Division of Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 1100 Fairview Ave. N., Mail Stop M4-B874, Seattle, WA 98109-1024, USA.


African American (AA) women have a higher mortality from breast cancer (BC) compared to European American (EA) women. This may be due to the higher proportion of AA women with tumors that are diagnosed at more advanced stages and are characterized as being estrogen receptor negative (ER-)/progesterone receptor negative (PR-). Our study sought to determine whether self-reported race and percent African ancestry were associated with BC tumor characteristics. In a multi-center, population-based case-control study of BC, we determined percent African ancestry using ancestry informative markers (AIM) among women self-reporting race as AA or Black. BC tumor characteristics were associated with self-reported race (including a 30 % reduction in ER+/PR+ tumors [95 % confidence interval [CI]: 0.6-0.9] and a 1.5-fold increased risk of high grade [95 % CI: 1.2-1.9] for AA women compared to EA women). AIMs among AA women were not associated with BC tumor characteristics (AA women with ≥95 % versus <80 % African ancestry, odds ratio [OR] = 1.0 for ER+/PR+ [95 % CI: 0.6-1.8] and OR = 0.9 for high-grade tumors [95 % CI: 0.6-1.4]). Similar findings were observed for BC stage. While BC subtypes were associated with self-reported race, BC subtypes were not associated with percent African ancestry. These study results suggest that subtle differences in percent African ancestry are less important than the overall presence of African ancestry in relation to BC tumor characteristics.

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