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J Clin Oncol. 2009 Jan 10;27(2):220-6. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2008.17.9952. Epub 2008 Dec 1.

Triple receptor-negative breast cancer: the effect of race on response to primary systemic treatment and survival outcomes.

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Department of Breast Medical Oncology, The University of Texas M D Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA.



The goal of this study was to describe the effect of race on pathologic complete response (pCR) rates and survival outcomes in women with triple receptor-negative (TN) breast cancers.


Four hundred seventy-one patients with TN breast cancer diagnosed between 1996 and 2005 and treated with primary systemic chemotherapy were included. pCR was defined as no residual invasive cancer in the breast and axillary lymph nodes. Overall survival (OS) and recurrence-free survival (RFS) were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier product-limit method and compared between groups using the log-rank test. Cox proportional hazards models were fitted for each survival outcome to determine the relationship of patient and tumor variables with outcome.


Median follow-up time was 24.5 months. One hundred patients (21.2%) were black, and 371 patients (78.8%) were white/other race. Seventeen percent of black patients (n = 17) and 25.1% of white/other patients (n = 93) achieved a pCR (P = .091). Three-year RFS rates were 68% (95% CI, 56% to 76%) and 62% (95% CI, 57% to 67%) for black and white/other patients, respectively, with no significant difference observed between the two groups (P = .302). Three-year OS was similar for the two racial groups. After controlling for patient and tumor characteristics, race was not significantly associated with RFS (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.08; 95% CI, 0.69 to 1.68; P = .747) or OS (HR = 1.08; 95% CI, 0.69 to 1.68; P = .735) when white/other patients were compared with black patients.


Race does not significantly affect pCR rates or survival outcomes in women with TN breast cancer treated in a single institution under the same treatment conditions.

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