Research Topic

Biological Determinants of Cancer Health Disparities

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About this Research Topic

Cancer health disparities have been related to the differences in the incidence, prevalence, morbidity, and mortality rates of cancer between certain population groups. They are also linked to the disproportional rates of access to quality health care, screening and stage of diagnosis, as well as survivorship ...

Cancer health disparities have been related to the differences in the incidence, prevalence, morbidity, and mortality rates of cancer between certain population groups. They are also linked to the disproportional rates of access to quality health care, screening and stage of diagnosis, as well as survivorship and quality of life after cancer treatment. Many epidemiological and clinical investigations have pointed out that cancer health disparities represent a global health issue with multiple causes that are often linked to many domains of influence such as clinical and health care systems, socio-cultural and physical environments, and behavioral and biological determinants.

Recent studies indicate that the unequal cancer burdens between the populations may be due in part to a complex biology that needs to be investigated to increase our basic understanding of cancer health disparities. For example, disproportionally higher rates of triple negative breast, colorectal, and prostate cancers exist in African Americans compared to other racial groups in the United States. Differences in tumor markers that modulate cancer initiation, promotion and/or progression and response to cancer therapy have been reported in various population groups. Scientific progress in the area of genomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics, bioinformatics and in the development of sophisticated computational biology tools has significantly contributed to our understanding of the critical role played by specific biological factors in cancer health disparities. For example high-throughput sequencing technology has made it possible for the discovery of single nucleotide polymorphisms at a genome level, hence enabling us to identify allelic variants of cancer susceptibility genes in human population subgroups. Advances in molecular technologies have also provided us with a new tool to critically assess changes in gene expression on a genome-wide basis, and to develop a holistic approach to the assessment of biologic responses to both cancer-causing agents and cancer therapeutics.

The overarching goal of this Research Topic is to present the recent advances and new developments in cancer health disparities. We are especially interested in research that has practical applications to understanding the nature and role played by biological factors in cancer health disparities. Equally important is research on innovative strategies to prevent/reduce and/or eliminate cancer health disparities. We welcome original research, systematic review, or review (including meta-analysis) articles focusing on the science of cancer health disparities. Topics of interest include the following:

• Novel in-vitro and in-vivo test systems designed to investigate cancer health disparities
• Novel therapeutic strategies to prevent/control cancer health disparities
• Genetic and epigenetic mechanisms in cancer health disparities
• Biomarkers of cancer health disparities
• Biological determinants of the disparity in cancer rates among various population groups


Keywords: cancer biology, cancer epidemiology, cancer control, cancer prevention, cancer disparities, minority health


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