Health Care Disparities and Demand for Expanding Hereditary Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines in African Americans

Elsevier, Clinical Breast Cancer, Volume 21, June 2021
Ciuro J., Beyer A., Fritzler J., Jackson N., Ahsan S.
Background: Genomic medicine has led to significant advancements in the prevention and treatment of cancer. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines recommend BRCA1/2 screening in high-risk individuals; however, the guidelines have not incorporated differences within ethnic cohorts beyond Ashkenazi Jewish ethnicity. We analyzed the prevalence of BRCA1/2 mutations in various ethnicities and identified high-risk personal characteristics and family history incorporating differences within ethnic cohorts beyond Ashkenazi Jewish ethnicity. Patients and Methods: We reviewed data collected by a Michigan medical genetic clinic in a community-based hospital from 2008 to 2018. A retrospective chart analysis was conducted of 1090 patients who received genetic counseling regarding hereditary cancer syndromes. Results: We found a statistically significant higher rate of pathogenic BRCA1/2 mutation prevalence in African American patients, at 8.1%, compared to non-Ashkenazi Jewish white patients, at 3.6% (P =.02). African Americans have a mutational prevalence nearing that of the Ashkenazi Jewish population. Conclusion: Revision of the NCCN guidelines regarding hereditary cancer syndrome testing in various ethnic groups is imperative and overdue. Future studies are needed to identify health care disparities in and socioeconomic barriers to genetic testing.