Association of Insulin Resistance and Higher Oncotype DX™ Recurrence Score

Ann Surg Oncol. 2021 Oct;28(11):5941-5947. doi: 10.1245/s10434-021-09748-8. Epub 2021 Apr 3.


Background: Black women with breast cancer have a worse overall survival compared with White women; however, no difference in Oncotype DX™ (ODX) recurrence scores has been observed to explain this health disparity. Black women are also disproportionately affected by insulin resistance. We evaluated whether insulin resistance is associated with a higher ODX recurrence score and whether there is a difference between White and Black women to explain disparate clinical outcomes.

Methods: A subgroup analysis of patients in a multi-institutional cross-sectional study evaluating differences in insulin resistance between White and Black women was performed. Women diagnosed with a new hormone receptor-positive, HER2/neu-negative breast cancer with an ODX recurrence score were identified. Fasting blood glucose and insulin measurements were used to calculate the homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) score, a method for assessing insulin resistance, and compared against ODX scores.

Results: Overall, 412 women (358 White women, 54 Black women) were identified. Compared with White women, Black women had a higher body mass index (30 vs. 26 kg/m2, p < 0.0001), higher HOMA-IR score (2.4 vs. 1.4, p = 0.004), and more high-grade tumors (30% vs. 16%, p = 0.01). There was a direct positive association with an increasing ODX score and HOMA-IR (p = 0.014). On subset analysis, this relationship was seen in White women (p = 0.005), but not in Black women (p = 0.55).

Conclusion: In women with newly diagnosed breast cancer, increasing insulin resistance is associated with a higher recurrence score; however, this association was not present in Black women. This lack of association may be due to the small number of Black women in the cohort, or possibly a reflection of a different biological disease process of the patient's tumor.

MeSH terms

  • Black or African American
  • Breast Neoplasms*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local