HGF Signaling in African-American and Basal-like Breast Cancer

Project: Research project


Premenopausal African-American women suffer disproportionately from a higher incidence of the basal-like “triple-negative” breast cancer compared to Caucasian-American patients. Currently, no effective molecular therapies exist for this highly aggressive cancer and, consequently, patient survival is poor. The majority of studies investigating differences in breast cancer between African- and Caucasian-American women examine tumor characteristics, however, the etiologic factors that lead to this disparity remain undefined. Our preliminary data implicate a role for HGF in breast cancer progression and in differences between African-American and Caucasian patients. To further understand the role of this pathway in cancer disparities we will address two Aims. Aim 1 will identify a gene expression signature for HGF via microarray analysis and use this signature to evaluate the expression of the HGF pathway in African-American vs. Caucasian patients and according to breast cancer subtype. Aim 2 will use primary cell lines from African-American and Caucasian patients to evaluate the effects of variation in HGF expression by fibroblasts on cancer cell phenotypes including proliferation and motility assays. Thus, our primary objective is to identify the mechanisms involved in the development of aggressive, metastatic breast cancer in premenopausal African-Americans, as a consequence of stromal effects at the site of the cancerous lesion.
Effective start/end date9/1/148/31/15


  • North Carolina Central University (NCCU)


African Americans
Breast Neoplasms
Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms
Microarray Analysis
Cell Line