Breast Cancer Disparities in Chicago: Biological Factors


The goal of this research proposal is to address the biological underpinnings of breast cancer mortality disparities in Chicago. African American (AA) women in the city have a 4-5 fold greater risk of death from hormone-dependent breast cancer compared to white women, even after controlling for stage at diagnosis, treatment, and other known prognostic factors. This strongly suggests that biologic mechanisms are activated in estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancers arising in AA women that result in a higher rate of distant metastases and/or resistance to endocrine therapies. We propose a metabolomic analysis of serum from AA and white women with newly diagnosed breast cancer, as well as a racially diverse, healthy control population, to identify potential oncometabolites that promote aggressive phenotypes in ER+ breast cancer cells. We will also explore the association between candidate oncometabolites and established demographic variables related to poor outcomes in AA women with breast cancer, including neighborhood socioeconomic deprivation and individual patient and tumor characteristics. This project involves clinical/translational scientists, a cancer epidemiologist, an economist and cancer biologists from Chicago CHEC institutions as well as Mercy Medical Center as our community partner. This unique team will address a critical health equity problem affecting AA women in Chicago while providing a strong training environment in disparity research for early stage investigators and under-represented minority students.


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Research Education Core »

We leverage the strengths of ChicagoCHEC institutions and partners to support students, trainees, and faculty.


Planning and Evaluation Core »

We initiate new projects and continuously evaluate ChicagoCHEC’s impact and progress toward its mission to advance cancer health equity via scientific discovery, education, training, and community engagement.


Admin Core »

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Citizen Scientists »

Despite overall declines in rates of aggressive prostate cancer (PCa) in the U.S., racial disparity persists, with African American (AA) men experiencing rates greater than 2X those for European American (EA) men. While prostate specific antigen (PSA) screening has made a major contribution to the mortality decline, new screening strategies are needed to identify potentially […]