Genetic Ancestry using Mitochondrial DNA in patients with Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Interview with:

Roshni Rao, M.D Breast Surgery University of Texas Southwestern

Dr. Roshni Rao

Roshni Rao, M.D
Breast Surgery
University of Texas Southwestern What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is characterized by not having estrogen, progesterone, or Her2Neu receptors. Although a less common type, it is aggressive, and leads to a disproportionate number of deaths from breast cancer.

TNBC is more common in young, African American women, but can be found in other ethnic groups as well.

This study performed mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis, to evaluate for patient genetic ancestry, in 92 patients with TNBC. In regards to self-identified ethnicity, there were 31 African-Americans, 31 Whites, and 30 Hispanics. Utilizing mtDNA, 13% of patients had discordance between self identified ethnicity and mtDNA analysis. Discordance was highest in the Hispanic group. The Hispanic patients were also much younger at initial age of diagnosis, and less likely to have a family history of breast cancer. Ancestry from Nigeria, Cameroon, or Sierre Leone were most common in the African-Americans with triple negative breast cancer. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: There is a significant rate of discordance between self-identified ethnicity and mtDNA. There may be specific patterns that could predispose to this aggressive form of breast cancer. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Larger studies may be able to identify mtDNA that could allow for additional screening for patients who may be at increased risk based on their genetic ancestry, some of which they may not be aware of. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: Personalized cancer therapy in the future may require evaluation of host and tumor factors, including evaluation of mtDNA as performed in this study. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Cancer. 2016 Sep 1. doi: 10.1002/cncr.30267. [Epub ahead of print]
Genetic Ancestry using Mitochondrial DNA in patients with Triple-negative breast cancer (GAMiT study).
Rao R1, Rivers A1, Rahimi A2, Wooldridge R1, Rao M1, Leitch M1, Euhus D3, Haley BB4.
Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

More Medical Research Interviews on


Last Updated on September 23, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD