Breast cancer in Tanzanian, black American, and white American women: An assessment of prognostic and predictive features, including tumor infiltrating lymphocytes.

Mremi A 1 , Broadwater G 2 , Jackson K 3 , Amsi P 1 , Mbulwa C 3 , Hyslop T 2 , Ong C 4 , Hall A 5
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Breast cancer is a major cause of morbidity and mortality for women in Sub-Saharan Africa and for black American women. There is evidence that the pathologic characteristics of breast cancers in both African women and black American women may differ from their counterparts of European ancestry. However, despite the great burden of disease, data on pathologic features of breast carcinoma in Sub-Saharan Africa is limited and often contradictory. This lack of information makes it difficult to prioritize resource use in efforts to improve breast cancer outcomes in the region.


We examined consecutive cases of breast cancer in Tanzanian women (n = 83), black American women (n = 120), and white American women (n = 120). Each case was assessed for tumor type, grade, mitotic count, ER and HER2 status, and tumor infiltrating lymphocyte involvement.


The Tanzanian subjects were younger and had higher stage tumors than the subjects in either American group. Breast cancers in the Tanzanian and black American groups were more likely to be high grade (p = 0.008), to have a high mitotic rate (p<0.0001), and to be ER-negative (p<0.001) than the tumors in the white American group. Higher levels of tumor infiltrating lymphocyte involvement were seen among Tanzanian and black American subjects compared to white American subjects (p = 0.0001). Among all subjects, tumor infiltrating lymphocyte levels were higher in tumors with a high mitotic rate. Among Tanzanian and black American subjects, tumor infiltrating lymphocyte levels were higher in ER-negative tumors. These findings have implications for treatment priorities for breast cancer in Tanzania and other Sub-Saharan African countries.