University of Miami
Chief Fellow, Hematology and Oncology
Conquer Cancer – The ASCO Foundation
Understanding how hormone levels and inflammatory markers affect outcomes in Black women with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer.
The most common breast cancer subtype is estrogen receptor ER-positive/HER2-negative, and nearly all patients with this type of cancer, regardless of race, are treated with endocrine therapy. However, Black women are four times more likely to die of ER-positive breast cancer than white women. Dr. Coelho hypothesizes that the hormone and inflammatory profiles of the patients are different. Preliminary research points to a difference in response to endocrine therapy between different races and patients with a very high body mass index (BMI). Possible explanations for these disparities include: (1) a higher rate of obesity and its accompanying inflammatory state in Black women and (2) differing responses in hormones in response to aromatase inhibition in Black women with breast cancer. Aromatase inhibition, therefore, might not be the preferred hormonal therapy for ER-positive/HER2-negative breast cancer in the Black population.
The goal of Dr. Coelho’s Conquer Cancer research supported by BCRF is to evaluate the changes and trends of different hormonal levels and inflammatory markers in patients receiving an aromatase inhibitor by comparing levels pre- and post-treatment. They will further stratify these by race and BMI. The team hopes this information will provide a deeper insight into the adverse response to treatment in Black women and may lead to more effective therapies that will help resolve health inequities observed among Black populations.
Priscila Barreto Coelho, MD is a board-certified internal medicine physician and Hematology/Oncology Chief Fellow at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center (SCCC), University of Miami. She received her MD in Brazil, and her research focuses on health disparities and targeted therapies in breast cancer and sarcoma. In her breast cancer research, she has reported the disparities in the presentation and outcomes of this disease in South Florida and the Caribbean.
She has worked on the impact of deleterious gene variants that characterize hereditary cancer syndromes and the impact of immigration and lifestyle changes on the development and outcomes of breast cancer in Black women. Her work has led to an impact on implementing best practices to decrease health disparities in women of African ancestry. In her sarcoma research, she has reported the molecular landscape of different types of sarcomas, the role of using circulating tumor DNA to guide therapy in Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors, as well as the use of targeted therapies to treat specific types of sarcomas. She is a member of the women’s cancer research working group in the African Caribbean Cancer Consortium (AC3), the SCCC Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee, and the Sarcoma Investigation Group (SIG) at the University of Miami.
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