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DNA damage repair genes behave differently in Black and White women with breast cancer

Differences in the expression of DNA repair genes may help to explain why breast cancer mortality is higher in black women than white women.

Researchers compared tumour samples from 144 black women and 703 white women diagnosed with breast cancer, looking at the expression of 104 DNA repair genes previously shown to affect responses to breast cancer therapy.

Eight genes were differently regulated in the black women. At an individual level, this meant that 45-60 percent of black women had dysregulation of at least one of these eight genes, compared to just 25-30 percent of white women. The researchers speculate that this altered expression pattern could lead to cancer therapy resistance.

“What we’re seeing here is a tangible molecular difference in how these cells repair damaged DNA – a critical factor in the development of cancer – which affects how cells grow and reproduce in tumours,” said Svasti Haricharan, PhD, head of the research team behind the study (pictured above).

See “DNA damage repair genes behave differently in black and white women with breast cancer” by James Moore on the BioNews website (February 14, 2022)

See the full text of the scientific paper “The DNA damage repair landscape in Black women with breast cancer” by Aloran Mazumder et al.

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