Breast cancer characteristics and pathological prognostic determinants in indigenous Australians: Retrospective cohort study in the Northern Territory

Asia Pac J Clin Oncol. 2023 May 3. doi: 10.1111/ajco.13956. Online ahead of print.


Background: There is a disparity in health outcomes between indigenous and nonindigenous Australians, with higher chronic disease burden and shorter life expectancy in this minority population. Although rates of breast cancer among indigenous women are lower than nonindigenous women, they face a higher breast cancer-associated mortality, which may not entirely be explained by socio-economic disadvantage.

Methods: This retrospective cohort study investigated previously described pathologic prognostic factors in indigenous Australians in the Northern Territory.

Results: Data analyzed confirmed that indigenous women were more likely to have poorer prognostic disease features, including ER/PR negative and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 amplified tumors, larger tumors, and higher stage disease.

Conclusion: These pathologic features portend to a poor prognosis, raising the possibility these factors contribute to the disparity in health outcomes between indigenous and nonindigenous women with breast cancer, in addition to known socio-economic factors.

Keywords: breast cancer; group 2: tumor type; indigenous Australian; prognosis.