Associations between breast cancer subtype and neighborhood socioeconomic and racial composition among Black and White women

Erin Linnenbringer, Arline T. Geronimus, Kia L. Davis, John Bound, Libby Ellis, Scarlett L. Gomez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Purpose: Studies of Black–White differences in breast cancer subtype often emphasize potential ancestry-associated genetic or lifestyle risk factors without fully considering how the social or economic implications of race in the U.S. may influence risk. We assess whether neighborhood racial composition and/or socioeconomic status are associated with odds of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) diagnosis relative to the less-aggressive hormone receptor-positive/HER2-negative subtype (HR+ /HER−), and whether the observed relationships vary across women’s race and age groups. Methods: We use multilevel generalized estimating equation models to evaluate odds of TNBC vs. HR+ /HER2− subtypes in a population-based cohort of 7291 Black and 74,208 White women diagnosed with breast cancer from 2006 to 2014. Final models include both neighborhood-level variables, adjusting for individual demographics and tumor characteristics. Results: Relative to the HR+ /HER− subtype, we found modestly lower odds of TNBC subtype among White women with higher neighborhood median household income (statistically significant within the 45–64 age group, OR = 0.981 per $10,000 increase). Among Black women, both higher neighborhood income and higher percentages of Black neighborhood residents were associated with lower odds of TNBC relative to HR+ /HER2−. The largest reduction was observed among Black women diagnosed at age ≥ 65 (OR = 0.938 per $10,000 increase; OR = 0.942 per 10% increase in Black residents). Conclusion: The relationships between neighborhood composition, neighborhood socioeconomic status, and odds of TNBC differ by race and age. Racially patterned social factors warrant further exploration in breast cancer subtype disparities research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-447
Number of pages11
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • Breast cancer subtype
  • Health inequalities
  • Neighborhood racial density
  • Socioeconomic status


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