Black women and white women are diagnosed with breast cancer at a similar rate. However, Black women are more likely to be diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer known as triple-negative breast cancer and to be diagnosed with advanced cancer. Also, a higher percentage of Black women than white women die from MBC.
Researchers are working to understand the complex reasons for these differences. Possible reasons include differences in genes, the immune system, and access to care. Understanding these differences is important because this knowledge could allow more personalized treatment for Black women.
Click the links below to learn more about research into understanding features unique to Black women that affect MBC outcomes.
Features Unique to Black Women That May Play a Role in MBC Outcomes
- Allure: Black women with MBC have different biology, genetics, and access to care than white women
- Healthline: Many factors contribute to poor outcomes from MBC in Black women including greater chance of being diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer, younger age at diagnosis, and worse communication with the health care team compared to other groups
- Breast Cancer Research Foundation: Many researchers are working to understand the various reasons why Black women with MBC fare worse than other groups
- SHARE Cancer Support (webinar): Differences in environmental, social, and genetic factors and in the immune system may help explain why breast cancer is more aggressive in Black women than other groups
- Journal article: Biologic and non-biologic factors appear to play a role in poor outcomes for Black women with MBC
Differences in the Immune System
- Georgia Research Alliance: A genetic mutation found in women of African descent may affect the immune system’s response to triple-negative breast cancer
- Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center: Black women have more immune cells near their tumors than white women, but the immune cells don’t work as well. For this reason, Black women may benefit from immunotherapy that awakens these immune cells
- Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and Wilmot Cancer Institute: Researchers are comparing the response to immunotherapy in Black and white women with breast cancer
- SABCS 2022 (abstract): Because of differences in the immune system, Black women may receive preferential benefit from immunotherapy compared to non-Black women
Clinical Trials for Black Women and Men with MBC
- Metastatic Trial Search: Trials specific for black women and men with MBC
Last Modified on October 31, 2023