Triple-negative breast cancer in African-American women: disparities versus biology

Nat Rev Cancer. 2015 Apr;15(4):248-54. doi: 10.1038/nrc3896. Epub 2015 Feb 12.


Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is an aggressive breast cancer subtype that disproportionately affects BRCA1 mutation carriers and young women of African origin. There is evidence that African-American women with TNBC have worse clinical outcomes than women of European descent. However, it is unclear whether survival differences persist after adjusting for disparities in access to health-care treatment, co-morbid disease and income. It remains controversial whether TNBC in African-American women is a molecularly distinct disease or whether African-American women have a higher incidence of aggressive biology driven by disparities: there is evidence in support of both. Understanding the relative contributions of biology and disparities is essential for improving the poor survival rate of African-American women with TNBC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology*