Impact of race, ethnicity, and BMI on achievement of pathologic complete response following neoadjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer: a pooled analysis of four prospective Alliance clinical trials (A151426)

Erica T. Warner, Karla V. Ballman, Carrie Strand, Judy C. Boughey, Aman U. Buzdar, Lisa A. Carey, William M. Sikov, Ann H. Partridge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations


Previous studies demonstrated poor response to neoadjuvant systemic therapy (NST) for breast cancer among black women and women who are overweight or obese, but this may be due to chemotherapy underdosing. We assessed associations of race, ethnicity, and body mass index (BMI) with pathologic complete response (pCR) in clinical trial populations. 1797 women enrolled in four NST trials (CALGB 40601, 40603; ACOSOG Z1041, Z1071) were included. Tumor subtypes were defined by estrogen receptor (ER) and HER2 status. Logistic regression generated odds ratios (OR) and 95 % confidence intervals (CI) for the associations of race, ethnicity, and BMI with in-breast pCR adjusting for subtype, study arm, lymph node status, tumor size, and tumor grade. 253 (14.1 %) were black, 199 (11.1 %) Hispanic, 520 (28.9 %) overweight, and 743 (41.4 %) obese. Compared to whites, Blacks and Hispanics were more likely to be obese and Blacks were more likely to have triple-negative cancer. pCR rates differed significantly by tumor subtype. In multivariate analyses, neither race (black vs white: OR 1.18, 95 % CI 0.85–1.62) nor ethnicity (Hispanic vs non-Hispanic; OR 1.30, 95 % CI 0.67–2.53) were significant predictors of pCR overall or by subtype. Overweight and obese women had lower pCR rates in ER+/HER2+, but higher pCR rates in ER−/HER2+ cancers. There was no difference in pCR according to race or ethnicity. Overall, there was no major difference in pCR rates by BMI. These findings suggest that pCR with optimally dosed NST is a function of tumor, rather than patient, biology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-118
Number of pages10
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016



  • Body mass index
  • Breast cancer
  • Ethnicity
  • Pathologic complete response
  • Race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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