Dr. Ali on the Need to Understand Real-World Disparities in BRCA Testing in TNBC


Haythem Y. Ali, MD, member, Henry Ford Cancer Institute, Henry Ford Health System, discusses the need to understand real-world disparities with BRCA testing referrals and uptake in patients with triple-negative breast cancer.

During the 2021 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, findings from a real-world analysis evaluating racial disparities in BRCA testing for patients with TNBC were presented in a virtual poster. The results showed that the rate of BRCA testing was high overall in evaluated patients with TNBC, although a larger proportion of White patients received testing compared with Black or African American patients.

Among untested patients, Black or African American patients were offered testing more frequently compared with White patients; however, fewer Black or African American patients were able to undergo testing or declined testing for reasons including lack of transportation to the appointment, lack of availability for childcare during the appointment, inability to take time off work, desire to focus on initiation of cancer treatment, among others.

At the Henry Ford Cancer Center, BRCA testing is offered through a robust mechanism, Ali explains. However, the results showed that a main reason for patients not receiving testing was because they declined testing. As such, these results indicate that underlying mechanisms beyond not being offered BRCA testing to patients exist to cause patients to elect against testing. These mechanisms need to be explored to improve the rates of BRCA testing in patients with TNBC, Ali concludes.

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