Weill Cornell Research: Breast Cancer Subtypes in Asian-Americans Differ Among Asian Ethnic Groups

Breast cancer prognosis and breast cancer subtypes vary by race/ethnicity. Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College, led by Dr. Ellen Chuang of the Weill Cornell Breast Center, explored whether the distribution of breast cancer subtypes varies among different Asian ethnic groups.

Analyzing the subtypes of 346 Asian patients treated at two New York City hospitals, the researchers found that Chinese and Japanese patients had a higher proportion of good-prognosis luminal A cancers, compared to Filipinos and Koreans. Filipinos had a higher proportion of HER-2/neu positive cancer compared to other ethnic groups. Koreans had a higher proportion of triple negative cancers compared to other ethnic groups.

Over 6000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed yearly in Asian women in the US. The results of this study have implications for the health of Asian Americans with breast cancer. They suggest that Filipinos are more likely to have a type of breast cancer that is more aggressive and require prolonged therapy, whereas Chinese and Japanese women have a more favorable subtype of breast cancer which, if found in its earliest stages, may be treated with hormonal therapy alone. It is not known why these differences exist, whether they have underlying genetic factors or are related to environmental factors such as diet and lifestyle.

Click here to read the published research paper.

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