A Biological Approach in Exploring Breast Cancer Disparities




Ali, Arkoon
Sankpal, Umesh


0000-0001-7182-5761 (Ali, Arkoon)

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Purpose: In the United States, healthcare disparities lie across a multitude of diseases including breast cancer. These disparities are caused by multiple different factors such as socioeconomic status, education, environment, biology, and others. To overcome the disparities, each factor needs to be addressed with research and development. In the US, breast cancer death rates have significantly declined since the start of 21st century. However, looking closer at breast cancer outcomes between races, a significant racial disparity is seen between white and black women. Research has found that black women are diagnosed with breast cancer at an earlier age and with the most aggressive triple negative tumors. These factors attribute to the differences in outcomes between the black and white populations. Studies have also identified various biological differences between the two populations that can potentially affect outcomes for breast cancer. Method: Genomic data from breast tumor was used to obtain differentially expressed genes between the two populations. These were evaluated as possible biological markers for racial disparity in breast cancer. Results: Genes were identified that were expressed at higher levels in tumor tissue from black women compared to white. This also correlated with the lower survival rates observed for black women. Conclusion: In addressing the disparities of healthcare and more specifically those seen in breast cancer, novel approaches are needed to reduce mortality and improve outcomes for the black population. These approaches need to include a combination of public health strategies along with biological methods and techniques to improve outcomes.