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BCRF-Supported Study Finds Nigerian Women at Higher-Risk for Late-Stage and Inherited Breast Cancers

BCRF investigators conducted a 20-year long study to determine why breast cancer incidences have increased in Nigeria

A BCRF-supported study, recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, used genome sequencing to study the DNA of Nigerian women and found they are more likely to develop and die from triple negative breast cancer due to certain inherited gene mutations.

“This is the first study to use high-throughput genomic analysis of African women,” said study author and BCRF investigator, Dr. Olufunmilayo Olopade, University of Chicago.

About the study

The Nigerian Breast Cancer study, a multi-national study based in Ibadan, Nigeria, studied the DNA of 1,136 women with invasive breast cancer and 997 controls (no cases of breast cancer) over a period of 20 years.

Nearly half of patients enrolled in the study were diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer.

Study authors found one out of eight cases were caused by mutations in the BRCA1, BRCA2, PALB2, or TP53 genes, with the first two being the most common. Patients carrying the BRCA1 and TP53 mutations were diagnosed at younger ages, with the average age of diagnoses at 42.6 and 32.8 years, respectively. The overall study’s mean age of diagnosis was 47.5 years.

What does this mean?

As a follow-up to the study, authors have already created a risk-prediction model to identify African women who are at higher risk for breast cancer.

“Based on state of the art genomic technologies, two things were clear,” added co-author and BCRF investigator Dr. Mary-Claire King, University of Washington, Seattle. “Risks to Nigerian women who carry mutations in breast cancer genes are higher than risks to women in the U.S. with mutations in the same genes. And inherited breast cancer plays a bigger role in the total occurrence of breast cancer in Nigeria compared to the U.S.”

Read more about BCRF research on the Meet the Researchers page.

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