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Racial Differences in Genomic Profiles May Help Explain Breast Cancer Outcomes

Genomic findings may help explain racial disparities in outcomes among patients with breast cancer, according to a study of 6652 patients with breast cancer who were treated from 2014 to 2020 and underwent extensive genetic testing.

The study showed that Black patients with metastatic breast cancer were less likely than their White counterparts to have actionable genetic variations, which are mutations that can be treated with new drugs successfully tested in clinical trials.

According to researchers, these results suggest that the underrepresentation of Black patients in clinical trials has made it more difficult to discover mutations that can be successfully targeted in Black patients, and this contributes to the poor outcomes observed in Black patients with breast cancer.

As long as genome-wide association study populations are skewed toward predominately White and European patients, Neha Goel, MD (above), of the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center in Florida and her olleagues argue, fewer actionable genomic variations will be discovered in minority populations, and treatment inequalities will persist.

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