Genomic Disparities in Breast Cancer Among Latinas

Cancer Control. 2016 Oct;23(4):359-372. doi: 10.1177/107327481602300407.


Background: Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed among Latinas in the United States and the leading cause of cancer-related death among this population. Latinas tend to be diagnosed at a later stage and have worse prognostic features than their non-Hispanic white counterparts. Genetic and genomic factors may contribute to observed breast cancer health disparities in Latinas.

Methods: We provide a landscape of our current understanding and the existing gaps that need to be filled across the cancer prevention and control continuum.

Results: We summarize available data on mutations in high and moderate penetrance genes for inherited risk of breast cancer and the associated literature on disparities in awareness of and uptake of genetic counseling and testing in Latina populations. We also discuss common genetic polymorphisms and risk of breast cancer in Latinas. In the treatment setting, we examine tumor genomics and pharmacogenomics in Latina patients with breast cancer.

Conclusions: As the US population continues to diversify, extending genetic and genomic research into this underserved and understudied population is critical. By understanding the risk of breast cancer among ethnically diverse populations, we will be better positioned to make treatment advancements for earlier stages of cancer, identify more effective and ideally less toxic treatment regimens, and increase rates of survival.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / ethnology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Female
  • Genomics
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Prevalence