Ethnicity and the tumour characteristics of invasive breast cancer in over 116,500 women in England

Toral Gathani*, Gillian Reeves, John Broggio, Isobel Barnes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Ethnic minority women are commonly reported to have more aggressive breast cancer than White women, but there is little contemporary national evidence available. 

Methods: We analysed data from the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service on women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer during 2013–2018. Multivariable logistic regression yielded adjusted odds ratios (and 95% confidence intervals) of less favourable tumour characteristics (high stage, high grade, ER negative, Her2 positive) by ethnicity (black African, black Caribbean, Indian, Pakistani and white) in younger (30–46 years) and older (53–70 years) women. 

Results: In 24,022 women aged 30–46 at diagnosis, all ethnic minority groups apart from Indian women had a significantly greater odds of certain less favourable tumour characteristics compared to white women in fully adjusted models. In 92,555 women aged 53–70, all ethnic minorities had a significantly greater adjusted odds of several of the less favourable tumour characteristics. These differences were most marked in black African and black Caribbean women. 

Conclusions: Ethnic minority women are at greater risk of breast cancers with less favourable characteristics, even after allowing for age and other potential confounders. These differences are greater in older than younger women, and in the Black rather than South Asian ethnic groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)611-617
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number4
Early online date26 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: T.G. and G.R. are funded in part by Cancer Research UK (Grant number C16077/A29186). T.G. is an employee of Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. I.B. received funding from Public Health England and J.B. is an employee of Public Health England.

Open Access: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit

Publisher Copyright: © The Author(s), 2021

Citation: Gathani, T., Reeves, G., Broggio, J. et al. Ethnicity and the tumour characteristics of invasive breast cancer in over 116,500 women in England. Br J Cancer 125, 611–617 (2021).



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