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High blood pressure linked to earlier death among African-American breast cancer patients
Date:3/4/2009

cords, which they considered more reliable than data self-reported by patients. Kaiser Permanente's division of research has long collaborated with UCSF on breast cancer research.

The study found that African-American breast cancer patients had a higher overall crude mortality, or death from all causes, than whites during the study period: 39.7 percent versus 33.3 percent respectively over a mean follow-up of nine years.

When age, race, tumor characteristics, and breast cancer treatment were controlled, hypertension accounted for 30 percent of the racial disparity in mortality, study findings showed.

"High blood pressure led to poorer outcomes for African-American patients than for their white counterparts," said Braithwaite. "Even if you statistically control for tumor characteristics and breast cancer treatmentschemotherapy, surgery, radiation, and hormone treatmentthe adverse effect of hypertension in African-American women means a greater likelihood of death."

Hypertension is not part of the Charlson Comorbidity Index, a widely-used generic tool that provides survival estimates for patients using a range of co-existing conditions or so-called comorbidities. If the results of this study are validated in more contemporary patient populations, the research suggests that hypertension should be included in this Index because of its high predictive value for outcomes, said Braithwaite.

According to study senior author Laura Esserman, MD, director, Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center; co-leader, Breast Oncology Program, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center; and part of the UCSF National Center of Excellence in Women's Health, comorbidities have a huge influence on life expectancy and therefore influence treatment decisions for breast cancer. "We started out by trying to determine which comorbidities should be assessed for all patients routinely, and discovered that hypertension in African-Americans is
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Contact: Kirsten Michener
kmichener@pubaff.ucsf.edu
415-476-2557
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert

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