Cancer Prediction Models More Accurate For White Women Than Asian-American Women

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

Two widely used prediction models for identifying a woman's risk for breast and ovarian cancer appear to be less reliable for Asian-American women compared with white women, according to a study in the October issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Reuters Health reports.

For the study, lead researcher Allison Kurian of Stanford University and colleagues evaluated the effectiveness of two prediction models, known as BRCAPRO and Myriad II, in 200 Asian-American participants and 200 white participants. The models, which are available at no cost through the Internet, use a woman's personal and family history of breast and ovarian cancers to predict their risk for the cancers. The models are considered to have a generally good performance and are used to help determine whether a woman should undergo further testing, Reuters Health reports.


Both models accurately predicted the number of white women with mutations in two genes -- BRCA1 and BRCA2 -- that are commonly associated with an increased risk for breast and ovarian cancers. According to the study, 25 white women were found to have the mutations; BRCAPRO predicted 24 and Myriad II predicted 25.

The models, however, underreported the number of Asian-American women with the mutations. While 49 Asian-American women were found to have a mutation, BRCAPRO predicted mutations only for 25 and Myriad II predicted mutations for 26 of the women.

Kurian said, "Our findings indicate that Asian-American women with BRCA mutations may not be referred for genetic testing as often as they should be." Further research is needed to better understand the racial differences in BCRA mutations, researchers said (Reuters Health, 9/24).

Reprinted with permission from You can view the entire Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at . The Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report is published for, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.