From the National Institutes of Health, "Breast Cancer Is Not One Disease, Experts Say: New focus on tumor subtypes could help patients, according to medical groups" by Robert Preidt:
The report [published March 30 in the Journal of the National Cancer Instituteby the American Cancer Society, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. National Cancer Institute, and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries] "assesses breast cancer as four molecularly defined subtypes, not as a single disease," National Cancer Institute director Dr. Harold Varmus said in an institute news release. "This is a welcome step, [resulting from] medically important information that already guides therapeutic strategies for these subtypes," he said.
***The four tumor types are: Luminal A (HR+/HER2-), Luminal B (HR+/HER2+), HER2-enriched (HR-/HER2+), and triple negative (HR-/HER2-). ***Some differences in breast cancer rates and deaths between racial and ethnic groups are also tied to differences in the rates of different breast cancer subtypes emerging in those groups, the report suggests.
It said there were unique racial/ethnic group patterns by age, poverty level, geography and specific tumor characteristics. For example, rates of HR+/HER2- breast cancer -- the least aggressive subtype -- were highest among white women.
Blacks had higher rates of the most aggressive breast cancer subtype -- triple negative -- than other racial/ethnic groups, and also had the highest rates of late-stage disease. Blacks have the highest rates of breast cancer deaths, the report noted. [Emphasis added.]