Breast cancer histology in Caucasians, African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and Pacific Islanders

Ethn Health. 1998 Aug;3(3):189-98. doi: 10.1080/13557858.1998.9961861.


Study objectives: To investigate the association between race/ethnicity and histologic types of breast cancer.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: Population-based data from the Northern California Tumor Registry, which is part of the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program.

Participants: A total of 2759 breast cancer cases diagnosed in 1988.

Main results: Tumors were classified as ductal, lobular, and mixed/unspecified carcinoma. Ductal carcinoma was the most common (83.6%) and lobular carcinoma was the rarest. Most cases were diagnosed in the localized stage (56.3%). Caucasian women had the highest rates of total breast cancer (240.9/100,000), ductal and lobular. In African-American women, the odds of ductal carcinoma were twice that of lobular carcinoma, compared with Caucasian women (odds ratio [OR] = 2.0, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.0-3.9) after adjusting for age, site, and stage at diagnosis. Similarly, Asian and Hispanic women also had higher, non-statistically significant odds of ductal versus lobular carcinoma compared with Caucasians (OR = 1.8 [95% CI 0.9-3.7] and 1.6 [95% CI 0.8-3.4], respectively).

Conclusions: Future studies should investigate how racial/ethnic differences in histology among breast cancer patients will influence life expectancy, against a backdrop of health care access, sociocultural issues, lifestyle habits, reproductive history, family history, and tumor characteristics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Asian Americans
  • Blacks
  • Breast Neoplasms / ethnology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • California / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ethnicity*
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Racial Groups*
  • SEER Program
  • Whites