Breast Cancer Coverage From Every Angle

Tumor Microenvironment in Racially Distinct Triple-Negative Breast Cancers

By: Susan Reckling
Posted: Wednesday, September 27, 2017

African American patients seem to harbor more tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) than European American patients, according to the findings of a study investigating the distinctions in inherent tumor biology between racially distinct triple-negative breast cancers. These results were presented at the 10th American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved in Atlanta (Abstract B40). The investigators suggest that TILs may serve as a useful prognostic biomarker for patients of African ancestry.

This study was conducted by Nikita Wright, BS, a PhD candidate atĀ Georgia State University, and colleagues, who tested resection samples from 87 African American and 34 European American patients with triple-negative breast cancer. The patients had received adjuvant chemotherapy at Emory University Hospital.

Among patients with early-stage disease, African Americans harbored more TILs than European Americans, but this was not the case among patients with late-stage disease. More TILs negatively correlated with younger age at diagnosis and carcinoma in situ and positively correlated with intramammary lymph node involvement, tubule formation, and Nottingham grade in African Americans with early-stage disease.

TILs also correlated positively with 5- and 10-year survival more strongly among early-stage African American patients. Among adjuvant chemotherapy-treated early-stage patients, TILs were associated with better 5- and 10-year survival among African Americans than European Americans.

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