ICGA Pilot Project on Breast Cancer


Large Scale Multi-omics Profiling of Breast Cancers

The breast cancer profile in India is uniquely different than other developed or developing countries with reference to its epidemiology and clinicopathology as well as clinical management strategies. According to WHOGLOBOCAN data, breast cancer is the most common cancer in India. In 2020, 178,361 new breast cancer cases (13.5% of all cancer cases) and 90,480 deaths (10.6% of all cancer related deaths) were reported in India. Even though women from all socio-economic strata are affected young (mid-forties), premenopausal urban women appear to be at high risk. The median age at 1st diagnosis in India is between 40-45 years (mainly young, premenopausal women). Lack of awareness in Indian women about disease symptoms, screening modalities, self-breast examination, and/or routine mammographic screening has been attributed to negligence, thereby, resulting in costly delay in diagnosis and treatment. 

Triple negative breast cancers (TNBCs) , an aggressive sub-type of breast cancer with high mortality rate are highly prevalent in Indian patients. About 25-30% breast cancers in India are TNBCs as compared to 12-15% in the western population. 

A need for an India-based database to study the TNBCs arises due to the fact that the TCGA, a US-based study, has data primarily from local US population and does not include enough Indian samples. It is well established that Indian population is diverse – environmentally, ethnically and genetically and we need data about our own population. These uniquely different characteristics of Indian breast cancers with respect their epidemiology, genetics, clinicopathology and treatment outcomes have not been co-related with their multi-omics profiles in a systematic method. Therefore, as its first pilot project , ICGA has started a large scale multi-omics profiling of Indian breast cancers which will continue for next 3-5 years.