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    Research Grants Awarded

    A Population-Based Study of Inherited Breast Cancer in Young African American Women with Breast Cancer

    Study Section:
    Population Specific

    Scientific Abstract:
    Background: Although the overall incidence of breast cancer is lower in African Americans than Caucasians, these women face a greater risk of being diagnosed at younger ages and have a higher mortality rate. Our long-term goal is to eliminate these health disparities through improved knowledge on the etiologic basis. Given the younger age of onset, a proportion of breast cancers in these women are likely to have a genetic component, however the exact proportion is unclear. The high incidence and poor prognosis highlights the need to investigate molecular aspects to develop patient-specific therapies, and ultimately improve survival. Objective: To estimate the prevalence of BRCA1/2 mutations in 200 young African American breast cancer patients. This will be achieved through the Florida state cancer registry and the African American community through community partnerships. The Specific Aims of this study are: 1. To determine the feasibility of conducting a population-based study of African American women with early-onset breast cancer, through the Florida Cancer Data System (FCDS), a statewide population-based registry. 2. To estimate the prevalence of mutations in BRCA1/2 in these women. 3. To disseminate information on breast cancer genetics through community partnerships, at local, regional and national levels. Study Design : We propose a population-based study among young African American breast cancer patients. We have established collaboration with the FCDS, but need to demonstrate feasibility before embarking on a larger study. Input from the community will be used throughout all phases of the study including development of recruitment materials and dissemination of results. Potential Outcomes and Benefits of the Research: The expected outcome of this study is a more precise estimate of the frequency of BRCA mutations in African American women with early onset breast cancer. These data are not available, yet critical for planning of services for this underserved population which faces disparities in risk of disease. A short-term benefit for the study population includes free genetic counseling and testing for the target population, who have historically underutilized these services due to socioeconomic and cultural factors. There are numerous long-term benefits expected from this study. It will lay the groundwork for future studies investigating the biology of breast cancer and psychosocial issues related to genetic testing in this population .

    Lay Abstract:
    Background: African-American women in the United States who develop breast cancer are more likely to be diagnosed at younger ages and more likely to die from the disease when compared to Caucasian women. Because breast cancer occurring in younger women is more likely to have a genetic cause, this study will examine BRCA1/2 genes that may be a factor in some African American women. The high rates and poor outcomes of breast cancer highlight the need to study the genetic cause in these women to develop therapies for individual patients, and ultimately prolong their lives. Objective: To obtain a baseline estimate of how common BRCA1/2 mutations are in 200 young African American women with breast cancer. Participants of this study will be identified through the Florida state cancer registry and recruited through the help of the African American community through community partnerships. The Specific Aims of this study are: 1. To determine if it is possible to recruit young African American women with breast cancer, who are representative of the population, through the Florida Cancer Data System (FCDS), a statewide population-based registry. 2. To find out how common alterations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are in these women. 3. To spread information about breast cancer genetics through community partnerships, at local, regional and national levels. Study Design: We plan to gather information concerning gene mutations. We have partnered with the FCDS, but need to show some recruitment success before doing a larger study. We will get advice throughout the study from the community, including how to develop enrollment materials and how best to spread results. Potential Outcomes and Benefits of the Research: Through this study, we will have a better idea of the commonness of BRCA mutations in young African American women. This information is not available, yet important for planning of services for this underserved population that faces differences in the chance of getting the disease. A short-term benefit for women who enroll in the study is free genetic counseling and testing, which has been under used in the past due to socioeconomic and cultural factors. In the long-term, the project will lay the groundwork in the future for studying the biological reasons for breast cancer and feelings about genetic testing in this population .