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Insulin Resistance May Contribute to Worse Prognosis in Black Women with Breast Cancer

Insulin resistance is one factor that contributes to the worse prognosis in breast cancer between black and white women, potentially through direct effects of insulin on the tumor insulin receptor, according to a study of US women with newly diagnosed invasive breast cancer.

Because of differences in circulating insulin levels and tumor insulin receptor expression between black and white women, researchers indicated that it will be important in future studies to explore whether lowering insulin levels or targeting insulin receptor signaling will improve breast cancer survival disparities.

“Given that obesity and diabetes epidemics disproportionately affect minority populations, it is important to understand the relationship of hyperinsulinemia, insulin resistance, and increased insulin receptor signaling on the progression of breast cancer,” said reseacher Emily J. Gallagher, MD, PhD, of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

“Understanding these relationships could explain the different patterns of disease seen in different racial groups and help to identify patients who would benefit from targeted therapy.”

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