Dr. Davis on the Influence of Racial Constructs and Genetic Ancestry in TNBC


Melissa B. Davis, PhD, discusses the influence of racial constructs and genetic ancestry in triple negative breast cancer.

Melissa B. Davis, PhD, assistant professor, Cell and Developmental Biology, Department of Surgery, scientific director, International Center for the Study of Breast Cancer Subtypes, Weill Cornell Medical College, discusses the influence of racial constructs and genetic ancestry in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC).

Worse outcomes in patients with TNBC have been associated with social constructs, Davis says. However, these are not the only factors that can contribute to outcomes for these patients. Genetic lineage can also correlate with social constructs to contribute to outcomes, Davis adds. For example, in African American patients, West African ancestry is associated with TNBC subtypes, Davis explains.

When comparing genetic ancestry vs race, it was found that genetic pathways for comorbidities, such as diabetes, inflammation, and metabolic disorders, were imprinted on the tumor cells in patients in the race group, Davis continues. These findings help create the link between factors that are genetically driven from ancestry and genetically driven because of a lived experience, Davis concludes.

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