Breast Cancer Molecular Subtypes in ABC-DO

Contact:  Dr. Eva Kantelhardt, Valerie McCormack

Duration: 30.11.2020 - 31.12.2023

Funding: International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)


The aim of this cooperation is to examine molecular subtypes of breast cancer within the ABC-DO+ study, fits perfectly into IARC's main mission to conduct cancer research to inform cancer prevention in order to improve cancer survival, in particular in low income countries. The potential to improve  Breast Cancer (BC) survival rates in SSA partially depends on the degree of biological commonality of this heterogeneous disease (distinct in clinical behavior and outcomes) to BC elsewhere. A recent joint South African-IARC study of >10,000 women with BC quantified excesses of estrogen-receptor (ER) negative and triple negative BC in black compared to white women, but the black-white difference was small (65% and 72% ER+, respectively) and, in our African-wide review, 65% of BCs were ER+. Such immunohistochemistry (IHC)-based subtypes are used clinically, but greater definition is provided through gene-expression based RNA panels, of which PAM50 has become the gold-standard. ABC-DO-Plus will avail of a unique opportunity to use the PAM50 nanostring technology across the whole cohort. Knowledge of the prevalence of luminal A, B and especially HER2+ and basal-like subtypes will clarify the need for targeted therapies such as use of anti-HER2 molecules (Herceptin, a WHO essential drug, now available in some Southern African countries) or for the addition of platinumbased chemotherapy for triple-negative BC. It also provides an opportunity to decipher whether excess non-Luminal A cancers found in African Americans, are inherent to all women, or subsets of those, of African ancestry.


For more information have a look at the IARC-Project-Website.