New research presented by Dr. Keith A. Dookeran at the recent ASCO 2006 Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, shows that abnormal levels of the tumor suppressor gene, p53, in breast cancer is more likely to predict survival in African-American than Hispanic or white women.
Dr. Dookeran found that for all races, p53 expression demonstrated similar trends of association and correlation with high grade, hormone receptor negative, aggressive type tumors. Survival between racial groups was not different according to p53 status, however within racial groups, abnormal p53 expression was only able to predict significantly worse survival in African-American women, and this association appeared to be independent of stage and age.
This is the first study of p53 as detected by immunohistochemistry to demonstrate a survival difference for a subset of AA women. This information is important since abnormal p53 tumor biology may be a factor which contributes to the survival disparity seen African-American women with breast cancer.