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New Research Finds Link Between African Ancestry and Triple-negative Breast Cancer Immunological Landscape

Study was simultaneously published in AACR journal and presented at AACR meeting

PHILADELPHIA – Cancer Discovery, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), today published a research article that may explain some differences in race-group-related clinical outcomes among patients with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC).

The study, titled “African Ancestry Associated Gene Expression Profiles in Triple Negative Breast Cancer Underlie Altered Tumor Biology and Clinical Outcome in Women of African Descent,” was also presented at the 15th AACR Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved in Philadelphia.

Melissa B. Davis, PhD, associate professor of cell and developmental biology research in surgery and director of health equity in the Englander Institute for Precision Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, is the senior author of the paper and presented its findings in a plenary session at the conference.

Women of sub-Saharan African descent have disproportionately higher incidence of TNBC and TNBC-specific mortality. Because of heterogenous genetic admixture and biological consequences of social determinants, the true association of African ancestry with TNBC biology is unclear. In this study, the authors performed RNA sequencing of an international cohort of west African/Ghanaian women, east African/Ethiopian women, and African American women with TNBC, and found the expression of 613 genes associated with African ancestry, more than 2,000 genes associated with regional African ancestry, and population-level distinctions in immunological landscapes.

Read the article in Cancer Discovery. To register for on-demand virtual access to Davis’s presentation and other talks at the conference, review our press registration requirements and request registration.