Breast Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

ASCO 2021: COVID-19 Outcomes and Breast Cancer by Racial/Ethnic Group

By: Vanessa A. Carter, BS
Posted: Thursday, June 10, 2021

During the 2021 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, Gayathri Nagaraj, MD, of Loma Linda University Medical Center, California, and colleagues presented their study findings regarding ethnic and racial disparities among patients with COVID-19 and breast cancer (Abstract 6500). When comparing clinicopathologic characteristics and COVID-19 outcomes, these investigators found significant differences based on ethnicity and race in these individuals.

“The adverse outcomes in non-Hispanic Black [patients] could be due to higher moderate to severe COVID-19 at presentation and preexisting comorbidities,” stated the study authors. “Hispanic [patients] did not have worse outcomes despite having more active disease and recent anticancer therapy, including cytotoxic chemotherapy—potentially due to younger age and nonsmoking status.”

A total of 1,133 patients from the COVID-19 and Cancer Consortium registry were identified with invasive breast cancer and laboratory-confirmed SARS–CoV-2. The analysis focused solely on women who self-identified as non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic black, or Hispanic. The outcomes of COVID-19 included intensive care unit admission, mechanical ventilation, hospital admission, death from any cause, and death within 30 days of COVID-19 diagnosis.

A majority (98%) of patients were women, of whom 575 were non-Hispanic White, 243 were non-Hispanic Black, 183 were Hispanic, and 110 were other/unknown. Hispanic patients tended to be younger (54 years) than non-Hispanic White (63 years) and non-Hispanic Black (62 years) individuals and also were more likely to have never smoked. Participants who identified as non-Hispanic Black had the highest rate of obesity (54%), diabetes (32%), and combined moderate and severe baseline COVID-19 (42%) when compared with non-Hispanic White patients, with rates of 40%, 16%, and 28%, and Hispanic individuals with rates of 46%, 20%, and 28%, respectively.

Patients who were non-Hispanic Black also had the highest rates of hospital admission (49%), mechanical ventilation (9%), 30-day mortality (9%), and total mortality (12%); non-Hispanic White patients had rates of 34%, 3%, 6%, and 8%, whereas patients identifying as Hispanic had rates of 34%, 5%, 4%, and 5%, respectively.

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit

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