Public Abstract

Pregnancies early in life afford mothers lifetime protection against breast cancer, which subsequent pregnancies further enhance. The reasons for such protection are unknown, but research suggests that hormones sustaining pregnancy help the breast become resistant to cancer by making fully mature its constituent cells, which until a first delivery remain immature and, thus, susceptible to carcinogens.

This research is rooted on the preliminary evidence from one of the participating laboratories that giving birth may confer a genetic signature detectable in breast cells and different from that of women who never experienced pregnancy. If further confirmed and extended, these observations will lead to a better understanding of the unknown biological determinants of the well-established lifetime protection from breast cancer that a pregnancy confers to the mother. The project’s goal is to characterize and validate the proposed genomic signature of pregnancy in the breast in a manner independent of previous observations in preparation for a more complex program seeking to develop biomarkers reflecting the genomic and physiological changes in the breast associated with pregnancy for applications in epidemiological research and chemo-preventive interventions aiming at reducing the impact of breast cancer.

The program involves 136 postmenopausal women (90 with a history of pregnancies and 46 without) part of a ethnically homogeneous region in northern Sweden. The rationale for choosing this group is to avoid the uncertainties related to taking into account different ethnic backgrounds at this early stage of research. The study will be coordinated at New York University and laboratory work will be performed at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.


Created by: admin. Last Modification: Monday 30 of June, 2008 12:56:11 EDT by admin.