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This article is the author’s final published version in Frontiers in Public Health, Volume 10, May 2022, Article number 859113.

The published version is available at Copyright © Tan et al.


Objective: Real-world data characterizing differences between African American (AA) and White women with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer (mTNBC) are limited. Using 9 years of data collected from community practices throughout the United States, we assessed racial differences in the proportion of patients with mTNBC, and their characteristics, treatment, and overall survival (OS).

Methods: This retrospective study analyzed de-identified data from 2,116 patients with mTNBC in the Flatiron Health database (January 2011 to March 2020). Characteristics and treatment patterns between AA and White patients with mTNBC were compared using descriptive statistics. OS was examined using Kaplan-Meier analysis and a multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression model.

Results: Among patients with metastatic breast cancer, more AA patients (23%) had mTNBC than White patients (12%). This difference was particularly pronounced in patients who lived in the Northeast, were aged 45-65, had commercial insurance, and had initial diagnosis at stage II. AA patients were younger and more likely to have Medicaid. Clinical characteristics and first-line treatments were similar between AA and White patients. Unadjusted median OS (months) was shorter in AA (10.3; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 9.1, 11.7) vs. White patients (11.9; 95% CI: 10.9, 12.8) but not significantly different. After adjusting for potential confounders, the hazard ratio for OS was 1.09 (95% CI: 0.95, 1.25) for AA vs. White patients.

Conclusions: The proportion of patients with mTNBC was higher in AA than White mBC patients treated in community practices. Race did not show an association with OS. Both AA and White patients with mTNBC received similar treatments. OS was similarly poor in both groups, particularly in patients who had not received any documented anti-cancer treatment. Effective treatment remains a substantial unmet need for all patients with mTNBC.

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