Population-specific Mutation Patterns in Breast Tumors from African American, European American, and Kenyan Patients

Wei Tang, Flora Zhang, Jung S. Byun, Tiffany H. Dorsey, Harris G. Yfantis, Anuoluwapo Ajao, Huaitian Liu, Margaret S. Pichardo, Catherine M. Pichardo, Alexandra R. Harris, Xiaohong R. Yang, Jonine D. Figueroa, Shahin Sayed, Francis W. Makokha, Stefan Ambs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Women of African descent have the highest breast cancer mortality in the United States and are more likely than women from other population groups to develop an aggressive disease. It remains uncertain to what extent breast cancer in Africa is reminiscent of breast cancer in African American or European American patients. Here, we performed whole-exome sequencing of genomic DNA from 191 breast tumor and non-cancerous adjacent tissue pairs obtained from 97 African American, 69 European American, 2 Asian American, and 23 Kenyan patients. Our analysis of the sequencing data revealed an elevated tumor mutational burden in both Kenyan and African American patients, when compared with European American patients. TP53 mutations were most prevalent, particularly in African American patients, followed by PIK3CA mutations, which showed similar frequencies in European American, African American, and the Kenyan patients. Mutations targeting TBX3 were confined to European Americans and those targeting the FBXW7 tumor suppressor to African American patients whereas mutations in the ARID1A gene that are known to confer resistance to endocrine therapywere distinctively enriched among Kenyan patients. A Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathway analysis could link FBXW7 mutations to an increased mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation capacity in tumors carrying thesemutations. Finally, Catalogue of Somatic Mutations in Cancer (COSMIC) mutational signatures in tumors correlated with the occurrence of driver mutations, immune cell profiles, and neighborhood deprivation with associations ranging from being mostly modest to occasionally robust. To conclude, we found mutational profiles that were different between these patient groups. The differences concentrated among genes with low mutation frequencies in breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2244-2255
Number of pages12
JournalCancer Research Communications
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023


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