Baylor College of Medicine

Well-defined cancer health disparities in cancer incidence, prevalence, mortality and survivorship burden racial and ethnic minority populations in the US1,2. African-Americans (AAs) have the highest overall cancer burden and experience excessive mortality from several cancer types1,3. AA men have both a higher incidence, and significantly higher mortality rates from prostate cancer (PC) than Caucasian American (CA) men2. In addition to socioeconomic factors, genetic and other intrinsic factors may be contributing3-5. Moreover, breast cancer (BC) has similar incidence in AA and CA women, yet mortality is ~40% higher in AA women3,6 for reason that remain unclear3. In addition, these minority populations remain underrepresented in therapeutic clinical trials.

Opportunities to address these racial/ethnic disparities via our M-PDTC

Houston is the most diverse large US city, with ~20% of its residents being AA and ~40% Hispanic. Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) faculty are responsible for clinical care at two major teaching hospitals that serve large minority populations. Ben Taub Hospital (BTH) is a public hospital (91% of patients are minorities, with 59% Hispanic). The Michael E. DeBakey VAMC (MEDVAMC), one of the largest VAs in the US, serves over 100,000 veterans in Southeast Texas (~30% are AA). Thus, there is a very large population of minority cancer patients available for potential tissue donations and BCM has a long track record of successfully enrolling minority patients in clinical trials. This allows us to establish PDXs from both AA and Hispanic patients to facilitate increasing the diversity of the PDXNet repository not just in the PC/BC areas, but in a wider spectrum of cancers as well. Our research projects will focus on health disparities in AA and Hispanic PC and BC compared to CAs.

Research Project 1: Combating Racial Health Disparities in PC: Building Mechanism-Driven Rationale for Single and Combinatorial Therapies Against Overactive Kinase Signaling and DDR using AA PDXs

Research Project 2: Targeting Estrogen receptor and DNA damage repair disparities in African American and Hispanic/Latino breast cancer using Patient-Derived Breast Cancer Xenografts