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Breast Cancer Case-Control Study in Poland

This population-based case-control study was conducted from 2000-2003 in two major cities in Poland, Warsaw and Lodz, and enrolled 2,386 breast cancer cases and 2,798 age and site matched controls. This large population-based study combines state-of-the art techniques of exposure assessment and collection of biological specimens to allow for the study of a wide range of biomarkers. Exposure information is obtained through detailed personal interviews, anthropometric measurements, physical activity monitors, and collection of dust samples from the participants’ homes. The collection of biological specimens includes blood samples processed as cryopreserved whole blood, serum+ blood clot, plasma+buffy coat+red blood cells; 12-hour overnight urine; paraffin embedded tumor and normal tissue; and fresh tissue from tumors, non-neoplastic breast tissue and mammary fat tissue. Investigators in DCEG obtained five year follow-up information from medical records for approximately 1,300 breast cancer cases recruited in Warsaw and 300 cases recruited in Lodz, as well as mortality data on most cases in the study using the Cancer Registry and Death Certificate Office database in Poland. The main research projects being conducted include: analyses of questionnaire-based factors and anthropometric/physical activity measurements in relation to cancer risk and clinical outcomes; identifying genetic susceptibility markers of cancer risk and clinical outcomes using candidate gene and genome-wide association (GWAS) approaches; analyses of breast tissue/tumor markers to evaluate relationships with cancer risk factors (known or suspected), and their impact on predicting recurrence and survival after diagnosis; and analyses of biomarkers in DNA (somatic changes), cryopreserved blood cells, serum/plasma, and urine in relationship to cancer risk and clinical outcomes.

For more information, contact Jonine Figueroa.

Hormonal and Reproductive Epidemiology Branch - Research Areas

Urinary Estrogen Metabolites and Accelerometer Measures

Numerous epidemiological studies suggest that higher levels of physical activity may reduce breast cancer risk among postmenopausal women. Although the mechanisms that account for the protective effect of physical activity are not well understood, it has been hypothesized that physical activity may reduce levels of circulating sex steroid hormones. Investigators in DCEG are conducting a cross-sectional study of approximately 600 postmenopausal controls in the NCI Polish Breast Study with the overall objective of assessing urinary estrogen metabolites in relation to accelerometer-based measures of active and sedentary behavior. In addition to the collection of questionnaire data and biological specimens, women from the Warsaw, Poland site were also asked to wear an accelerometer (Actigraph 7165) for seven days. A comprehensive urinary profile of endogenous estrogens, including 15 estrogens and estrogen metabolites, will be measured via the LC/MS2 assay. Findings from this study will extend our biological understanding of the effects of physical activity and sedentary time on estrogen metabolism. 

For more information, contact Louise Brinton.

Hormonal and Reproductive Epidemiology Branch - Research Areas

Risk Factors for Breast Cancer Classified According to Expression of Hormonal Markers

In order to improve the risk classification characterized by molecular markers, large population-based epidemiologic studies with strong pathology components are needed. A large population-based breast cancer case-control study conducted in Poland provides an ideal resource. Investigators in DCEG have constructed tissue microarrays (TMAs) of invasive breast tumors and non-invasive tissues (ductal carcinoma in situ and normal terminal ductal lobular units) collected for the Polish study, and stained these TMAs for molecular markers. The goals of this study include:

  • To identify etiologically heterogeneous subsets of breast tumors by examining the expression and co-expression patterns of molecular markers involved in important pathways for breast carcinogenesis.
  • To compare marker expression in invasive tumors and non-invasive tissues for a better understanding of molecular mechanisms involved in tumor progression.
  • To identify new markers for novel molecular classification of breast tumors into etiologically distinct subtypes using an integrated approach of tumor profiling (mRNA expression, gene copy number, microRNA, and methylation changes).

For more information, contact Xiaohong Rose Yang.

Genetic Epidemiology Branch - Research Areas