Breast cancer clinical trials in East Africa

Document Type



Internal Medicine (East Africa)


Purpose of Review: Breast cancer is one of the commonest cancers among women in sub-Saharan Africa. It occurs at an earlier age and with a more aggressive biology compared to the West. Yet despite this high prevalence and unusual phenotype, breast cancer in sub-Saharan African remains understudied, and this population is underrepresented in clinical trials.

Recent Findings: While the immunohistochemical phenotype of breast cancer in East Africa and the West appears similar, there is growing evidence supporting the unique molecular nature of African breast cancer diagnosed. More needs to be done to study the African breast cancer genome, and effort invested to overcome the less than 2% participation of indigenous African patients in global clinical trials. To achieve this, investment needs to be made in training clinicians to become clinical investigators and more emphasis placed on clinical research in medical education.

Summary: Breast cancer provides an important platform to study the demographic, biologic, and genomic differences of tumors diagnosed in African women. Active support for the study of such differences as well as promoting increased participation in clinical trials is critical to ensuring diversity, equity, and inclusivity of African patients in clinical trials.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Current Breast Cancer Reports


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.