Publications by authors named "Christine B Ambrosone"

326 Publications

Body fatness and mTOR pathway activation of breast cancer in the Women's Circle of Health Study.

NPJ Breast Cancer 2020 Sep 21;6(1):45. Epub 2020 Sep 21.

Department of Cancer Prevention and Control, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Buffalo, NY, USA.

Energy imbalance has an important role in breast cancer prognosis. Hyperactive mechanistic Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) pathway is associated with breast tumor growth, but the extent to which body fatness is associated with mTOR pathway activities in breast cancer is unclear. We performed immunostaining for mTOR, phosphorylated (p)-mTOR, p-AKT, and p-p70S6K in tumor tissue from 590 women (464 African Americans/Blacks and 126 Whites) with newly diagnosed invasive breast cancer in the Women's Circle of Health Study. Anthropometric measures were taken by study staff, and body composition was measured by bioelectrical impedance analysis. Linear regressions were used to estimate percent differences in protein expression between categories of body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, waist/hip ratio, fat mass, fat mass index, and percent body fat. We observed that BMI ≥ 35.0 vs. <25 kg/m was associated with 108.3% (95% CI = 16.9%-270.9%) and 101.8% (95% CI = 17.0%-248.8%) higher expression in p-mTOR and normalized p-mTOR, i.e., p-mTOR/mTOR, respectively. Quartiles 4 vs. 1 of waist/hip ratio was associated with 41.8% (95% CI = 5.81%-89.9%) higher mTOR expression. Similar associations were observed for the body fat measurements, particularly in patients with estrogen receptor-negative (ER-) tumors, but not in those with ER+ tumors, although the differences in associations were not significant. This tumor-based study found positive associations between body fatness and mTOR pathway activation, evident by a p-mTOR expression, in breast cancer. Our findings suggest that mTOR inhibition can be a treatment strategy to prevent the recurrence of these tumors in obese individuals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41523-020-00187-4DOI Listing
September 2020

Dietary Vitamin A and Breast Cancer Risk in Black Women: The African American Breast Cancer Epidemiology and Risk (AMBER) Consortium.

J Nutr 2021 Sep 7. Epub 2021 Sep 7.

Department of Cancer Prevention and Control, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Buffalo, NY, USA.

Background: Studies in women of European descent showed an inverse association of dietary vitamin A (retinol and carotenoids) intake with breast cancer risks, mainly in premenopausal women.

Objectives: We examined whether higher compared with lower levels of dietary vitamin A are associated with reduced breast cancer risks among Black women by estrogen receptor (ER) and menopausal statuses.

Methods: In this pooled analysis, data were from 3564 breast cancer cases and 11,843 controls (mean ages = 56.4 and 56.3 years, respectively) in the African American Breast Cancer Epidemiology and Risk (AMBER) Consortium. Dietary intake was assessed by FFQs. Multivariable logistic regressions were performed to estimate ORs and 95% CIs for study-specific quintiles of total vitamin A equivalents and individual carotenoids, and a pooled OR was estimated by a random-effect model.

Results: We observed an inverse association of total vitamin A equivalents with ER-positive breast cancer (quintiles 5 compared with 1: pooled OR: 0.82; 95% CI: 0.67-1.00; P-trend = 0.045). The association was seen among premenopausal women (pooled OR: 0.60; 95% CI: 0.43-0.83; P-trend = 0.004), but not among postmenopausal women (pooled OR: 0.99; 95% CI: 0.77-1.28; P-trend = 0.78). Additionally, there were inverse associations of dietary β-carotene (quintiles 5 compared with 1: pooled OR: 0.70; 95% CI: 0.51-0.95; P-trend = 0.08) and lutein (pooled OR: 0.63; 95% CI: 0.45-0.87; P-trend = 0.020) with ER-positive breast cancer among premenopausal women. There was no evidence for an association of total vitamin A equivalents or individual carotenoids with ER-negative breast cancer, regardless of menopausal status.

Conclusions: Our findings on dietary vitamin A and breast cancer risks in Black women are consistent with observations in women of European descent and advance the literature showing an inverse association for ER-positive disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxab278DOI Listing
September 2021

Associations of hair dye and relaxer use with breast tumor clinicopathologic features: Findings from the Women's circle of Health Study.

Environ Res 2021 Aug 11;203:111863. Epub 2021 Aug 11.

Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Rutgers School of Public Health, Piscataway, NJ, USA; Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ, USA. Electronic address:

Background: Building upon our earlier findings of significant associations between hair dye and relaxer use with increased breast cancer risk, we evaluated associations of select characteristics of use with breast tumor clinicopathology.

Methods: Using multivariable-adjusted models we examined the associations of interest in a case-only study of 2998 women with breast cancer, overall and stratified by race and estrogen receptor (ER) status, addressing multiple comparisons using Bonferroni correction.

Results: Compared to salon application of permanent hair dye, home kit and combination application (both salon and home kit application) were associated with increased odds of poorly differentiated tumors in the overall sample. This association was consistent among Black (home kit: OR 2.22, 95 % CI: 1.21-5.00; combination: OR 2.46, 95 % CI: 1.21-5.00), but not White women, and among ER+ (home kit: OR 1.47, 95 % CI: 0.82-2.63; combination: OR 2.98, 95 % CI: 1.62-5.49) but not ER-cases. Combination application of relaxers was associated with increased odds of tumors >2.0 cm vs. <1.0 cm (OR = 1.82, 95 % CI: 1.23-2.69). Longer duration and earlier use of relaxers and combination application of permanent hair dyes and relaxers were associated with breast tumor features including higher tumor grade and larger tumor size, which often denote more aggressive phenotypes, although the findings did not maintain significance with Bonferroni correction.

Conclusions: These novel data support reported associations between hair dye and relaxer use with breast cancer, showing for the first time, associations with breast tumor clinicopathologic features. Improved hair product exposure measurement is essential for fully understanding the impact of these environmental exposure with breast cancer and to guide risk reduction strategies in the future.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2021.111863DOI Listing
August 2021

Body fatness and breast cancer risk in relation to phosphorylated mTOR expression in a sample of predominately Black women.

Breast Cancer Res 2021 07 30;23(1):77. Epub 2021 Jul 30.

Department of Cancer Prevention and Control, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Buffalo, NY, USA.

Background: The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway promoted by positive energy imbalance and insulin-like growth factors can be a mechanism by which obesity influences breast cancer risk. We evaluated the associations of body fatness with the risk of breast cancer varied with phosphorylated (p)-mTOR protein expression, an indication of the pathway activation.

Methods: Women with newly diagnosed breast cancer (n = 715; 574 [80%] Black and 141 [20%] White) and non-cancer controls (n = 1983; 1280 [64%] Black and 713 [36%] White) were selected from the Women's Circle of Health Study. Surgical tumor samples among the cases were immunostained for p-mTOR (Ser2448) and classified as p-mTOR-overexpressed, if the expression level ≥ 75th percentile, or p-mTOR-negative/low otherwise. Anthropometrics were measured by trained staff, and body composition was determined by bioelectrical impedance analysis. Odds ratios (ORs) of p-mTOR-overexpressed tumors and p-mTOR-negative/low tumors compared to controls were estimated using polytomous logistic regression. The differences in the associations by the p-mTOR expression status were assessed by tests for heterogeneity.

Results: Cases with p-mTOR-overexpressed tumors, but not cases with p-mTOR-negative/low tumors, compared to controls were more likely to have higher body mass index (BMI), percent body fat, and fat mass index (P-heterogeneity < 0.05), although the OR estimates were not significant. For the measurement of central adiposity, cases with p-mTOR overexpressed tumors had a higher odds of being at the Q3 (OR = 2.52, 95% CI = 1.46 to 4.34) and Q4 (OR = 1.99, 95% CI = 1.12 to 3.50) of waist circumference (WC) compared to controls. Similarly, cases with p-mTOR overexpressed tumors had a higher odds of being at the Q3 (OR = 1.82, 95% CI = 1.11 to 2.98) and Q4 (OR = 1.81, 95% CI = 1.11 to 2.98) of WHR compared to controls. These associations of WC and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) did not differ by tumor p-mTOR status (P-heterogeneity = 0.27 and 0.48, respectively).

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that in this population composed of predominately Black women, body fatness is associated with breast cancer differently for p-mTOR overexpression and p-mTOR negative/low expression. Whether mTOR plays a role in the obesity and breast cancer association warrants confirmation by prospective studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13058-021-01458-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8325192PMC
July 2021

Genetic Variants in and Genes and Breast Cancer Risk in White and Black Women.

Front Oncol 2021 24;11:679998. Epub 2021 Jun 24.

Department of Cancer Prevention & Control, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Buffalo, NY, United States.

and genes are involved in inflammatory processes and that may be related to breast cancer risk differentially between White and Black women. We evaluated distributions of genetic variants involved in and -related pathways and examined their associations with breast cancer risk among 1,275 White and 1,299 Black cases and controls who participated in the Women's Circle of Health Study. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using multivariable-adjusted logistic regression models. Our results showed differential associations of certain genetic variants with breast cancer according to menopausal and ER status in either White or Black women. In White women, an increased risk of breast cancer was observed for -rs689470 (OR: 2.02, = 0.01) in the dominant model, and was strongest among postmenopausal women (OR: 2.72, = 0.02) and for estrogen receptor positive (ER+) breast cancers (OR: 2.60, = 0.001). A reduced risk was observed for -rs7099874 (OR: 0.75, = 0.01) in the dominant model, and was stronger among postmenopausal women (OR: 0.68, = 0.03) and for ER+ cancer (OR: 0.66, = 0.001). Four SNPs (rs3840880, rs1126667, rs434473, rs1042357) in the gene were found in high LD (r >0.98) in White women and were similarly associated with reduced risk of breast cancer, with a stronger association among postmenopausal women and for ER- cancer. Among Black women, increased risk was observed for -rs1369214 (OR: 1.44, = 0.003) in the recessive model and was stronger among premenopausal women (OR: 1.57, = 0.03) and for ER+ cancer (OR: 1.53, = 0.003). Our study suggests that genetic variants of and genes are associated with breast cancer, and that these associations and genotype distributions differ in subgroups defined by menopausal and ER status between White and Black women. Findings may provide insights into the etiology of breast cancer and areas for further research into reasons for breast cancer differences between races.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2021.679998DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8263909PMC
June 2021

Deletion of in the mouse mammary gland results in abnormal accumulation of luminal progenitor cells: a link between reproductive factors and ER-/TNBC breast cancer?

Am J Cancer Res 2021 15;11(6):3263-3270. Epub 2021 Jun 15.

Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center Buffalo, New York 14263, USA.

In humans, parity without breastfeeding increases risk of estrogen receptor-negative (ER-) breast cancer and is associated with hypermethylation of , a pioneer factor regulating lineage commitment of mammary gland luminal progenitor cells. We postulate that pregnancy-associated repression of results in the accumulation of aberrant, differentiation-arrested luminal progenitor cells which, following additional genetic and epigenetic insults, may give rise to ER- tumors. Consistent with this hypothesis, we show that deletion of in the mouse mammary gland results in a two-fold increase in the proportion of luminal progenitor cells and a reduction in mammary gland epithelial cells that stain positive for ER. These results provide compelling support for the notion that reduced expression is sufficient to alter mammary gland luminal cell fate determination , which could be a mechanism linking parity with ER- breast cancer.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8263678PMC
June 2021

Cross-ancestry GWAS meta-analysis identifies six breast cancer loci in African and European ancestry women.

Nat Commun 2021 07 7;12(1):4198. Epub 2021 Jul 7.

Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.

Our study describes breast cancer risk loci using a cross-ancestry GWAS approach. We first identify variants that are associated with breast cancer at P < 0.05 from African ancestry GWAS meta-analysis (9241 cases and 10193 controls), then meta-analyze with European ancestry GWAS data (122977 cases and 105974 controls) from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium. The approach identifies four loci for overall breast cancer risk [1p13.3, 5q31.1, 15q24 (two independent signals), and 15q26.3] and two loci for estrogen receptor-negative disease (1q41 and 7q11.23) at genome-wide significance. Four of the index single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) lie within introns of genes (KCNK2, C5orf56, SCAMP2, and SIN3A) and the other index SNPs are located close to GSTM4, AMPD2, CASTOR2, and RP11-168G16.2. Here we present risk loci with consistent direction of associations in African and European descendants. The study suggests that replication across multiple ancestry populations can help improve the understanding of breast cancer genetics and identify causal variants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-24327-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8263739PMC
July 2021

Genes Relevant to Tissue Response to Cancer Therapy Display Diurnal Variation in mRNA Expression in Human Oral Mucosa.

J Circadian Rhythms 2021 Jun 17;19. Epub 2021 Jun 17.

Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, US.

Background: To address a critical gap for application of cancer chronotherapy of when would be the best time(s) for treating an individual cancer patient, we conducted a pilot study to characterize diurnal variations of gene expression in oral mucosal tissue, which is vulnerable to damage from cancer therapies.

Methods: We conducted RNA-seq assay on individual oral mucosal samples collected from 11 healthy volunteers every 4 hours (6 time points). Using a cosine-based method, we estimated the individual and average values of peak-time and amplitude for each gene. Correlations between gene expression peak-times and age was examined, adjusting for individual's sleep timing.

Results: Among candidate gene pathways that are relevant to treatment response, 7 of 16 genes () involved in circadian regulation and 1 of 118 genes () involved in cell cycle regulation achieved p-value ≤ 0.1 and relative amplitude>0.1. The average peak times were approximately 10:15 for PER3, CIART and TEF, 10:45 for PER1, 13:00 for WEE1, PER2 and CRY2, and 19:30 for ARNTL. Ranges in peak times across individuals differed by gene (e.g., 8 hours for PER1; 16.7 hours for WEE1). Older people had later peak times for PER1 (r = 0.77, p = 0.03) and PER3 (r = 0.69, p-value = 0.06).

Conclusion: In oral mucosa, expression of some genes relevant to treatment response displayed diurnal variation. These genes may be candidates for development of biomarkers for optimizing individual timing of cancer therapy using non-invasively collected oral mucosa.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5334/jcr.213DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8231453PMC
June 2021

Risk of Breast Cancer Among Carriers of Pathogenic Variants in Breast Cancer Predisposition Genes Varies by Polygenic Risk Score.

J Clin Oncol 2021 Aug 8;39(23):2564-2573. Epub 2021 Jun 8.

Population Health Sciences Department, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, NY.

Purpose: This study assessed the joint association of pathogenic variants (PVs) in breast cancer (BC) predisposition genes and polygenic risk scores (PRS) with BC in the general population.

Methods: A total of 26,798 non-Hispanic white BC cases and 26,127 controls from predominately population-based studies in the Cancer Risk Estimates Related to Susceptibility consortium were evaluated for PVs in , , , , , , , , and . PRS based on 105 common variants were created using effect estimates from BC genome-wide association studies; the performance of an overall BC PRS and estrogen receptor-specific PRS were evaluated. The odds of BC based on the PVs and PRS were estimated using penalized logistic regression. The results were combined with age-specific incidence rates to estimate 5-year and lifetime absolute risks of BC across percentiles of PRS by PV status and first-degree family history of BC.

Results: The estimated lifetime risks of BC among general-population noncarriers, based on 10th and 90th percentiles of PRS, were 9.1%-23.9% and 6.7%-18.2% for women with or without first-degree relatives with BC, respectively. Taking PRS into account, more than 95% of , , and carriers had > 20% lifetime risks of BC, whereas, respectively, 52.5% and 69.7% of and carriers without first-degree relatives with BC, and 78.8% and 89.9% of those with a first-degree relative with BC had > 20% risk.

Conclusion: PRS facilitates personalization of BC risk among carriers of PVs in predisposition genes. Incorporating PRS into BC risk estimation may help identify > 30% of and nearly half of carriers below the 20% lifetime risk threshold, suggesting the addition of PRS may prevent overscreening and enable more personalized risk management approaches.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.20.01992DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8330969PMC
August 2021

Association of Body Mass Index, Central Obesity, and Body Composition With Mortality Among Black Breast Cancer Survivors.

JAMA Oncol 2021 Jun 4. Epub 2021 Jun 4.

Department of Cancer Prevention and Control, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Buffalo, New York.

Importance: Obesity disproportionately affects Black women, who also have a higher risk of death after a breast cancer diagnosis compared with women of other racial/ethnic groups. However, few studies have evaluated the association of measures of adiposity with mortality among Black breast cancer survivors.

Objective: To assess the association of measures of adiposity with survival after a breast cancer diagnosis among Black women.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This prospective population-based cohort study comprised 1891 women with stage 0 to IV breast cancer who self-identified as African American or Black and were ages 20 to 75 years. The New Jersey State Cancer Registry was used to identify women living in 10 counties in New Jersey who were recruited from March 1, 2006, to February 29, 2020, and followed up until September 2, 2020.

Exposures: Measures of adiposity, including body mass index, body fat distribution (waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio), and body composition (percent body fat and fat mass index), were collected during in-person interviews at approximately 10 months after breast cancer diagnosis.

Main Outcomes And Measures: All-cause and breast cancer-specific mortality.

Results: Among 1891 women, the mean (SD) age at breast cancer diagnosis was 54.5 (10.8) years. During a median follow-up of 5.9 years (range, 0.5-14.8 years), 286 deaths were identified; of those, 175 deaths (61.2%) were associated with breast cancer. A total of 1060 women (56.1%) had obesity, and 1291 women (68.3%) had central obesity. Higher adiposity, particularly higher waist-to-hip ratio, was associated with worse survival. Women in the highest quartile of waist-to-hip ratio had a 61% increased risk of dying from any cause (hazard ratio [HR], 1.61; 95% CI, 1.12-2.33) and a 68% increased risk of breast cancer death (HR, 1.68; 95% CI, 1.04-2.71) compared with women in the lowest quartile. The risks of all-cause and breast cancer-specific death were similarly high among women in the highest quartile for waist circumference (HR, 1.74 [95% CI, 1.26-2.41] and 1.64 [95% CI, 1.08-2.48], respectively), percent body fat (HR, 1.53 [95% CI, 1.09-2.15] and 1.81 [95% CI, 1.17-2.80]), and fat mass index (HR, 1.57 [95% CI, 1.11-2.22] and 1.74 [95% CI, 1.10-2.75]); however, the risk was less substantial for body mass index (HR, 1.26 [95% CI, 0.89-1.79] and 1.33 [95% CI, 0.84-2.10]). In analyses stratified by estrogen receptor status, menopausal status, and age, a higher waist-to-hip ratio was associated with a higher risk of all-cause death among women who had estrogen receptor-negative tumors (HR, 2.24; 95% CI, 1.14-4.41), women who were postmenopausal (HR, 2.15; 95% CI, 1.28-3.61), and women who were 60 years or older at diagnosis (HR per 0.10-U increase, 1.76; 95% CI, 1.37-2.26).

Conclusions And Relevance: In this population-based cohort study, central obesity and higher adiposity were associated with higher all-cause and breast cancer-specific mortality among Black breast cancer survivors. Simple measures of body fat distribution and body composition were found to be useful tools for identifying Black women with a higher risk of death after a breast cancer diagnosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamaoncol.2021.1499DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8377573PMC
June 2021

Comparison of the Prevalence of Pathogenic Variants in Cancer Susceptibility Genes in Black Women and Non-Hispanic White Women With Breast Cancer in the United States.

JAMA Oncol 2021 Jul;7(7):1045-1050

Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts.

Importance: The prevalence of germline pathogenic variants (PVs) in cancer susceptibility genes in US Black women compared with non-Hispanic White women with breast cancer is poorly described.

Objective: To determine whether US Black and non-Hispanic White women with breast cancer have a different prevalence of PVs in 12 cancer susceptibility genes.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Multicenter, population-based studies in the Cancer Risk Estimates Related to Susceptibility (CARRIERS) consortium. Participants were Black and non-Hispanic White women diagnosed with breast cancer, unselected for family history or age at diagnosis. Data were collected from June 1993 to June 2020; data analysis was performed between September 2020 and February 2021.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Prevalence of germline PVs in 12 established breast cancer susceptibility genes.

Results: Among 3946 Black women (mean [SD] age at diagnosis, 56.5 [12.02] y) and 25 287 non-Hispanic White women (mean [SD] age at diagnosis, 62.7 [11.14] y) with breast cancer, there was no statistically significant difference by race in the combined prevalence of PVs in the 12 breast cancer susceptibility genes evaluated (5.65% in Black vs 5.06% in non-Hispanic White women; P = .12). The prevalence of PVs in CHEK2 was higher in non-Hispanic White than Black patients (1.29% vs 0.38%; P < .001), whereas Black patients had a higher prevalence of PVs in BRCA2 (1.80% vs 1.24%; P = .005) and PALB2 (1.01% vs 0.40%; P < .001). For estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer, the prevalence of PVs was not different except for PALB2, which was higher in Black women. In women diagnosed before age 50 years, there was no difference in overall prevalence of PVs in Black vs non-Hispanic White women (8.83% vs 10.04%; P = .25), and among individual genes, only CHEK2 PV prevalence differed by race. After adjustment for age at diagnosis, the standardized prevalence ratio of PVs in non-Hispanic White relative to Black women was 1.08 (95% CI, 1.02-1.14), and there was no longer a statistically significant difference in BRCA2 PV prevalence.

Conclusions And Relevance: This large population-based case-control study revealed no clinically meaningful differences in the prevalence of PVs in 12 breast cancer susceptibility genes between Black and non-Hispanic White women with breast cancer. The findings suggest that there is not sufficient evidence to make policy changes related to genetic testing based on race alone. Instead, all efforts should be made to ensure equal access to and uptake of genetic testing to minimize disparities in care and outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamaoncol.2021.1492DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8160931PMC
July 2021

Multiplexed digital spatial profiling of invasive breast tumors from Black and White women.

Mol Oncol 2021 May 21. Epub 2021 May 21.

Department of Cancer Prevention and Control, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Buffalo, NY, USA.

The NanoString GeoMx digital spatial profiling is a new multiplexed platform that quantifies the abundance of tumor- and immune-related proteins in a spatially resolved manner. We performed DSP for the simultaneous assessment of 52 analytes within spatially resolved tissue compartments defined by pan-cytokeratin expression. We compared protein targets between 94 African American/Black and 65 European American/White cases, tumor and stromal tissue compartments, estrogen receptor alpha (ER)-positive and ER-negative cases, and explored potential biomarkers of survival. Of 33 analytes with robust signal for analysis, results were highly replicable. For a subset of markers, correlative analyses between DSP analytes and traditional immunohistochemistry scores revealed moderate to very strong associations between the two platforms. Similarly, DSP analytes and gene expression scores were concordant for 21 of 25 markers with overlap between the two datasets. Several analytes varied by ER status, and across the 25 immune markers surveyed, 14 had a significant inverse association with ER expression. B7 homolog 3 (B7-H3; encoded by CD276) was the only analyte to show a significant difference by race, being lower in both the tumor and stromal compartments in Black women. DSP markers that were associated with survival included CD8, CD25, CD56, CD127, EpCAM, ER, Ki-67, and STING. We conclude that DSP is an efficient tool for screening tumor- and immune-related markers in a simultaneous fashion and yields results that are concordant with established immune profiling assays. DSP immune analytes were inversely associated with ER expression, in agreement with a substantial body of previous work that documents higher immune infiltration in ER-negative breast cancers. This technology revealed that scores of the B7-H3 protein were significantly lower in breast cancers from Black women compared with White women, an intriguing finding that requires replication in independent and racially diverse female populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/1878-0261.13017DOI Listing
May 2021

Differential methylation and expression patterns of microRNAs in relation to breast cancer subtypes among American women of African and European ancestry.

PLoS One 2021 30;16(3):e0249229. Epub 2021 Mar 30.

Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Buffalo, New York, United States of America.

Aggressive high-grade, estrogen receptor negative (ER-) breast cancer is more common among American women of African ancestry (AA) than those of European ancestry (EA). Epigenetic mechanisms, particularly DNA methylation and altered microRNA (miRNA) expression, may contribute to racial differences in breast cancer. However, few studies have specifically characterized genome-wide DNA methylation-based modifications at the miRNA level in relation to ER+ and ER- subtype, and their functional role in the regulation of miRNA expression, especially among high risk AA women. In this study, we evaluated DNA methylation patterns of miRNA encoding genes and their effect on expression in breast tumors from both AA and EA women. The genome-wide methylation screen identified a total of 7,191 unique CpGs mapped to 1,292 miRNA genes, corresponding to 2,035 unique mature miRNAs. We identified differentially methylated loci (DMLs: (|delta β|)>0.10, FDR<0.05) between ER- and ER+ tumor subtypes, including 290 DMLs shared in both races, 317 and 136 were specific to AA and EA women, respectively. Integrated analysis identified certain DMLs whose methylation levels were significantly correlated with the expression of relevant miRNAs, such as multiple CpGs within miR-190b and miR-135b highly negatively correlated with their expression. These results were then validated in the TCGA dataset. Target prediction and pathway analysis showed that these DNA methylation-dysregulated miRNAs are involved in multiple cancer-related pathways, including cell cycle G1-S growth factor regulation, cytoskeleton remodeling, angiogenesis, EMT, and ESR1-mediated signaling pathways. In summary, our results suggest that DNA methylation changes within miRNA genes are associated with altered miRNA expression, which may contribute to the network of subtype- and race-related tumor biological differences in breast cancer. These findings support the involvement of epigenetic regulation of miRNA expression and provide insights into the relations of clinical-relevant miRNAs to their target genes, which may serve as potential preventative and therapeutic targets.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0249229PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8009363PMC
March 2021

Evaluating Polygenic Risk Scores for Breast Cancer in Women of African Ancestry.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2021 Sep;113(9):1168-1176

Department of Oncology, Centre for Cancer Genetic Epidemiology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Background: Polygenic risk scores (PRSs) have been demonstrated to identify women of European, Asian, and Latino ancestry at elevated risk of developing breast cancer (BC). We evaluated the performance of existing PRSs trained in European ancestry populations among women of African ancestry.

Methods: We assembled genotype data for women of African ancestry, including 9241 case subjects and 10 193 control subjects. We evaluated associations of 179- and 313-variant PRSs with overall and subtype-specific BC risk. PRS discriminatory accuracy was assessed using area under the receiver operating characteristic curve. We also evaluated a recalibrated PRS, replacing the index variant with variants in each region that better captured risk in women of African ancestry and estimated lifetime absolute risk of BC in African Americans by PRS category.

Results: For overall BC, the odds ratio per SD of the 313-variant PRS (PRS313) was 1.27 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.23 to 1.31), with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.571 (95% CI = 0.562 to 0.579). Compared with women with average risk (40th-60th PRS percentile), women in the top decile of PRS313 had a 1.54-fold increased risk (95% CI = 1.38-fold to 1.72-fold). By age 85 years, the absolute risk of overall BC was 19.6% for African American women in the top 1% of PRS313 and 6.7% for those in the lowest 1%. The recalibrated PRS did not improve BC risk prediction.

Conclusion: The PRSs stratify BC risk in women of African ancestry, with attenuated performance compared with that reported in European, Asian, and Latina populations. Future work is needed to improve BC risk stratification for women of African ancestry.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djab050DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8418423PMC
September 2021

Discovery and fine-mapping of height loci via high-density imputation of GWASs in individuals of African ancestry.

Am J Hum Genet 2021 04 12;108(4):564-582. Epub 2021 Mar 12.

The Charles R. Bronfman Institute for Personalized Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY 10029, USA.

Although many loci have been associated with height in European ancestry populations, very few have been identified in African ancestry individuals. Furthermore, many of the known loci have yet to be generalized to and fine-mapped within a large-scale African ancestry sample. We performed sex-combined and sex-stratified meta-analyses in up to 52,764 individuals with height and genome-wide genotyping data from the African Ancestry Anthropometry Genetics Consortium (AAAGC). We additionally combined our African ancestry meta-analysis results with published European genome-wide association study (GWAS) data. In the African ancestry analyses, we identified three novel loci (SLC4A3, NCOA2, ECD/FAM149B1) in sex-combined results and two loci (CRB1, KLF6) in women only. In the African plus European sex-combined GWAS, we identified an additional three novel loci (RCCD1, G6PC3, CEP95) which were equally driven by AAAGC and European results. Among 39 genome-wide significant signals at known loci, conditioning index SNPs from European studies identified 20 secondary signals. Two of the 20 new secondary signals and none of the 8 novel loci had minor allele frequencies (MAF) < 5%. Of 802 known European height signals, 643 displayed directionally consistent associations with height, of which 205 were nominally significant (p < 0.05) in the African ancestry sex-combined sample. Furthermore, 148 of 241 loci contained ≤20 variants in the credible sets that jointly account for 99% of the posterior probability of driving the associations. In summary, trans-ethnic meta-analyses revealed novel signals and further improved fine-mapping of putative causal variants in loci shared between African and European ancestry populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2021.02.011DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8059339PMC
April 2021

A prospective study of lifestyle factors and bone health in breast cancer patients who received aromatase inhibitors in an integrated healthcare setting.

J Cancer Surviv 2021 Feb 9. Epub 2021 Feb 9.

Department of Cancer Prevention and Control, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Buffalo, NY, USA.

Purpose: Fracture and osteoporosis are known side effects of aromatase inhibitors (AIs) for postmenopausal hormone receptor positive (HR+) breast cancer (BC) patients. How modifiable lifestyle factors impact fracture risk in these patients is relatively unknown.

Methods: We conducted a prospective cohort study to examine the association of lifestyle factors, focusing on physical activity, with risk of incident major osteoporotic fracture and osteoporosis in 2152 HR+ BC patients diagnosed from 2006 to 2013 at Kaiser Permanente Northern California and who received AIs. Patients self-reported lifestyle factors at study entry and at 6-month follow-up. Fracture and osteoporosis outcomes were prospectively ascertained by physician-adjudication and bone mineral density (BMD) values, respectively. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated from multivariable proportional hazards regression. Models were adjusted for age, menopausal status, race/ethnicity, body mass index (BMI), AJCC stage, breast cancer treatment, prior osteoporosis, and prior major fracture.

Results: Over a median 6.1 years of follow-up after AI initiation, 165 women experienced an incident osteoporotic fracture and 243 women had osteoporosis. No associations were found between overall moderate-vigorous physical activity and fracture risk, although < 150 min/week of aerobic exercise in the 6 months after BC diagnosis was associated with increased fracture risk (HR=2.42; 95% CI: 1.34, 4.37) compared with ≥ 150 min/week (meeting physical activity guidelines). Risk was also higher for never or infrequently engaging in aerobic exercise (HR=1.90; 95% CI: 1.05, 3.44). None or infrequent overall moderate-vigorous physical activity in the 6 months before BC diagnosis was associated with increased risk of osteoporosis (HR=1.94; 95% CI: 1.11; 3.37).

Conclusions: Moderate-vigorous physical activity during the immediate period after BC diagnosis, particularly aerobic exercise, was associated with lower risk of major osteoporotic fractures in women on AI therapy.

Implications For Cancer Survivors: Findings may inform fracture prevention in women on AI therapy through non-pharmacologic lifestyle-based strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11764-021-00993-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8349930PMC
February 2021

A Population-Based Study of Genes Previously Implicated in Breast Cancer.

N Engl J Med 2021 02 20;384(5):440-451. Epub 2021 Jan 20.

From Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN (C. Hu, S.N.H., R.G., K.Y.L., J.N., J.L., S. Yadav, N.J.B., T.L., J.E.O., C.S., C.M.V., E.C.P., F.J.C.); Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health (H.H., C.G., D.J.H., P.K.), Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University (K.A.B., J.R.P., L.R.), and Brigham and Women's Hospital (H.E.) - all in Boston; Qiagen, Hilden, Germany (R.S., J.K.); Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Buffalo (C.B.A., S. Yao), and Weill Cornell Medicine, New York (R.T.) - both in New York; the University of California, Irvine (H.A.-C., A.Z.), Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, Duarte (L.B., H.M., S.N., J.N.W.), Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles (C. Haiman), and Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford (E.M.J., A.W.K.) - all in California; the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health, Milwaukee (P.A.), and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison (E.S.B., I.M.O., A.T.-D.); the Cancer Prevention and Control Program, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick (E.V.B.); the Behavioral and Epidemiology Research Group, American Cancer Society, Atlanta (B.D.C., S.M.G., M.G., J.M.H., E.J.J., A.V.P.); the University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom (D.J.H.); the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (C.K., P.A.N.) and the Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington (S.L.) - both in Seattle; the Epidemiology Program, University of Hawaii Cancer Center, Honolulu (L.L.M.); the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Durham, NC (K.M.O., D.P.S., J.A.T., C.W.); Vanderbilt University, Nashville (T.P., S.R.); the University of Utah, Salt Lake City (D.E.G.); and the Department of Medicine and the Basser Center for BRCA, Abramson Cancer Center, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (S.M.D., K.L.N.).

Background: Population-based estimates of the risk of breast cancer associated with germline pathogenic variants in cancer-predisposition genes are critically needed for risk assessment and management in women with inherited pathogenic variants.

Methods: In a population-based case-control study, we performed sequencing using a custom multigene amplicon-based panel to identify germline pathogenic variants in 28 cancer-predisposition genes among 32,247 women with breast cancer (case patients) and 32,544 unaffected women (controls) from population-based studies in the Cancer Risk Estimates Related to Susceptibility (CARRIERS) consortium. Associations between pathogenic variants in each gene and the risk of breast cancer were assessed.

Results: Pathogenic variants in 12 established breast cancer-predisposition genes were detected in 5.03% of case patients and in 1.63% of controls. Pathogenic variants in and were associated with a high risk of breast cancer, with odds ratios of 7.62 (95% confidence interval [CI], 5.33 to 11.27) and 5.23 (95% CI, 4.09 to 6.77), respectively. Pathogenic variants in were associated with a moderate risk (odds ratio, 3.83; 95% CI, 2.68 to 5.63). Pathogenic variants in , , and were associated with increased risks of estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer and triple-negative breast cancer, whereas pathogenic variants in , , and were associated with an increased risk of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. Pathogenic variants in 16 candidate breast cancer-predisposition genes, including the c.657_661del5 founder pathogenic variant in , were not associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.

Conclusions: This study provides estimates of the prevalence and risk of breast cancer associated with pathogenic variants in known breast cancer-predisposition genes in the U.S. population. These estimates can inform cancer testing and screening and improve clinical management strategies for women in the general population with inherited pathogenic variants in these genes. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa2005936DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8127622PMC
February 2021

Breast Tumor Microenvironment in Black Women: A Distinct Signature of CD8+ T-Cell Exhaustion.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2021 Aug;113(8):1036-1043

Department of Cancer Prevention and Control, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Buffalo, NY, USA.

Background: Blacks tend to have a stronger inflammatory immune response than Whites. We hypothesized that racial differences in host immunity also manifest in the tumor microenvironment, constituting part of a distinct aggressive tumor biology underlying higher mortality in Black women.

Methods: Pathological and gene expression profiling approaches were used for characterizing infiltrating immune cells in breast tumor microenvironment from 1315 patients from the Women's Circle of Health Study. Racial differences in tumor immune phenotypes were compared, with results validated in a publicly accessible dataset. Prognostic associations of immune phenotypes were assessed in 3 independent cohorts.

Results: We found marked and consistent differences in tumor immune responses between Black and White patients. Not only did tumors from Blacks display a stronger overall immune presence but also the composition and quality of immune infiltrates differed, regardless of tumor subtypes. Black patients had a stronger CD4+ and B-cell response, and further, a more exhausted CD8+ T-cell profile. A signature indicating a higher ratio of exhausted CD8+ T cells to total CD8+ T cells (ExCD8-r) was consistently associated with poorer survival, particularly among hormone receptor-positive patients. Among hormone receptor-negative patients, combinations of the absolute fraction of CD8+ T cells and ExCD8-r signature identified the CD8lowExCD8-rhigh subgroup, the most prevalent among Blacks, with the worst survival.

Conclusions: Our findings of a distinct exhausted CD8+ T-cell signature in Black breast cancer patients indicate an immunobiological basis for their more aggressive disease and a rationale for the use of immune checkpoint inhibitors targeting the exhaustion phenotype.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djaa215DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8328978PMC
August 2021

Germline variation in the insulin-like growth factor pathway and risk of Barrett's esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma.

Carcinogenesis 2021 04;42(3):369-377

Department of Medicine, Institute of Clinical Science, Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, UK.

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) and its precursor, Barrett's esophagus (BE), have uncovered significant genetic components of risk, but most heritability remains unexplained. Targeted assessment of genetic variation in biologically relevant pathways using novel analytical approaches may identify missed susceptibility signals. Central obesity, a key BE/EAC risk factor, is linked to systemic inflammation, altered hormonal signaling and insulin-like growth factor (IGF) axis dysfunction. Here, we assessed IGF-related genetic variation and risk of BE and EAC. Principal component analysis was employed to evaluate pathway-level and gene-level associations with BE/EAC, using genotypes for 270 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in or near 12 IGF-related genes, ascertained from 3295 BE cases, 2515 EAC cases and 3207 controls in the Barrett's and Esophageal Adenocarcinoma Consortium (BEACON) GWAS. Gene-level signals were assessed using Multi-marker Analysis of GenoMic Annotation (MAGMA) and SNP summary statistics from BEACON and an expanded GWAS meta-analysis (6167 BE cases, 4112 EAC cases, 17 159 controls). Global variation in the IGF pathway was associated with risk of BE (P = 0.0015). Gene-level associations with BE were observed for GHR (growth hormone receptor; P = 0.00046, false discovery rate q = 0.0056) and IGF1R (IGF1 receptor; P = 0.0090, q = 0.0542). These gene-level signals remained significant at q < 0.1 when assessed using data from the largest available BE/EAC GWAS meta-analysis. No significant associations were observed for EAC. This study represents the most comprehensive evaluation to date of inherited genetic variation in the IGF pathway and BE/EAC risk, providing novel evidence that variation in two genes encoding cell-surface receptors, GHR and IGF1R, may influence risk of BE.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/carcin/bgaa132DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8052954PMC
April 2021

Neighborhood Social Environmental Factors and Breast Cancer Subtypes among Black Women.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2021 02 24;30(2):344-350. Epub 2020 Nov 24.

Department of Biostatistics & Epidemiology, Rutgers School of Public Health, Piscataway, New Jersey.

Background: The disproportionate burden of more aggressive breast cancer subtypes among African American/Black women may stem from multilevel determinants. However, data are limited regarding the impacts of neighborhood social environmental characteristics among Black women.

Methods: We evaluated the association between neighborhood-level socioeconomic status (nSES) and breast cancer subtypes in the Women's Circle of Health and Women's Circle of Health Follow-up Study, which included 1,220 Black women diagnosed from 2005 to 2017 with invasive breast cancer. nSES at diagnosis was measured using NCI's census tract-level SES index. We used multilevel multinomial logistic regression models to estimate the association of nSES with breast cancer subtypes [triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), HER2-positive vs. luminal A], adjusting for individual-level SES, body mass index, and reproductive factors. We tested for interactions by neighborhood racial composition.

Results: Compared with census tracts characterized as high nSES, the relative risk ratios (RRR) for TNBC were 1.81 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.20-2.71] and 1.95 (95% CI: 1.27-2.99) for women residing in areas with intermediate and low nSES, respectively ( = 0.002). Neighborhood racial composition modified the association between nSES and TNBC; the highest relative risk of TNBC was among women residing in low nSES areas with low proportions of Black residents.

Conclusions: Black women residing in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods may have an increased risk of TNBC, particularly in areas with lower proportions of Black residents.

Impact: Places people live may influence breast tumor biology. A deeper understanding of multilevel pathways contributing to tumor biology is needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-1055DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7867587PMC
February 2021

Effects of cooking methods on total isothiocyanate yield from cruciferous vegetables.

Food Sci Nutr 2020 Oct 9;8(10):5673-5682. Epub 2020 Sep 9.

Department of Cancer Prevention and Control Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center Buffalo NY USA.

Cruciferous vegetables are primary sources of dietary isothiocyanates (ITCs), a group of phytochemicals showing promising cancer-chemopreventive activities in multiple cancer models. However, no study has thoroughly examined how cooking affects the yields of ITCs from cruciferous vegetables. In this study, a high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)-based cyclocondensation assay was performed to examine the ITC yields from four major cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale) under six cooking conditions (stir-frying, steaming, microwaving, boiling, stewing, and chip-baking for kale only) and measured the level of ITCs under the raw condition for a comprehensive list of cruciferous vegetables and ITC-containing condiments. A wide range of ITC yields was found across vegetables and condiments. Cooking significantly altered the ITC yields, showing an averagely four-fold increase by lightly cooking (stir-frying, steaming, and microwaving) and a 58% decrease by heavily cooking (boiling, stewing, and chip-baking). These findings will provide the evidence-based cooking guidance on cruciferous vegetable consumption and help better estimate dietary ITC exposure in epidemiologic studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/fsn3.1836DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7590320PMC
October 2020

Epidemiology of Basal-like and Luminal Breast Cancers among Black Women in the AMBER Consortium.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2021 01 23;30(1):71-79. Epub 2020 Oct 23.

Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Background: Evidence suggests etiologic heterogeneity among breast cancer subtypes. Previous studies with six-marker IHC classification of intrinsic subtypes included small numbers of black women.

Methods: Using centralized laboratory results for estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor, HER2, proliferation marker, Ki-67, EGFR, and cytokeratin (CK)5/6, we estimated case-only and case-control ORs for established breast cancer risk factors among cases ( = 2,354) and controls ( = 2,932) in the African American Breast Cancer Epidemiology and Risk (AMBER) consortium. ORs were estimated by ER status and intrinsic subtype using adjusted logistic regression.

Results: Case-only analyses by ER status showed etiologic heterogeneity by age at menarche, parity (vs. nulliparity), and age at first birth. In case-control analyses for intrinsic subtype, increased body mass index and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) were associated with increased risk of luminal A subtype, whereas older age at menarche and parity, regardless of breastfeeding, were associated with reduced risk. For basal-like cancers, parity without breastfeeding and increasing WHR were associated with increased risk, whereas breastfeeding and age ≥25 years at first birth were associated with reduced risk among parous women. Basal-like and ER/HER2 subtypes had earlier age-at-incidence distribution relative to luminal subtypes.

Conclusions: Breast cancer subtypes showed distinct etiologic profiles in the AMBER consortium, a study of more than 5,000 black women with centrally assessed tumor biospecimens.

Impact: Among black women, high WHR and parity without breastfeeding are emerging as important intervention points to reduce the incidence of basal-like breast cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-0556DOI Listing
January 2021

Gene expression of adipokines and adipokine receptors in the tumor microenvironment: associations of lower expression with more aggressive breast tumor features.

Breast Cancer Res Treat 2021 Feb 16;185(3):785-798. Epub 2020 Oct 16.

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University School of Public Health, Brooklyn, NY, USA.

Purpose: Limited epidemiologic data are available on the expression of adipokines leptin (LEP) and adiponectin (ADIPOQ) and adipokine receptors (LEPR, ADIPOR1, ADIPOR2) in the breast tumor microenvironment (TME). The associations of gene expression of these biomarkers with tumor clinicopathology are not well understood.

Methods: NanoString multiplexed assays were used to assess the gene expression levels of LEP, LEPR, ADIPOQ, ADIPOR1, and ADIPOR2 within tumor tissues among 162 Black and 55 White women with newly diagnosed breast cancer. Multivariate mixed effects models were used to estimate associations of gene expression with breast tumor clinicopathology (overall and separately among Blacks).

Results: Black race was associated with lower gene expression of LEPR (P = 0.002) and ADIPOR1 (P = 0.01). Lower LEP, LEPR, and ADIPOQ gene expression were associated with higher tumor grade (P = 0.0007, P < 0.0001, and P < 0.0001, respectively) and larger tumor size (P < 0.0001, P = 0.0005, and P < 0.0001, respectively). Lower ADIPOQ expression was associated with ER- status (P = 0.0005), and HER2-enriched (HER2-E; P = 0.0003) and triple-negative (TN; P = 0.002) subtypes. Lower ADIPOR2 expression was associated with Ki67+ status (P = 0.0002), ER- status (P < 0.0001), PR- status (P < 0.0001), and TN subtype (P = 0.0002). Associations of lower adipokine and adipokine receptor gene expression with ER-, HER2-E, and TN subtypes were confirmed using data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (P-values < 0.005).

Conclusion: These findings suggest that lower expression of ADIPOQ, ADIPOR2, LEP, and LEPR in the breast TME might be indicators of more aggressive breast cancer phenotypes. Validation of these findings are warranted to elucidate the role of the adipokines and adipokine receptors in long-term breast cancer prognosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10549-020-05972-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7925351PMC
February 2021

Body fatness and mTOR pathway activation of breast cancer in the Women's Circle of Health Study.

NPJ Breast Cancer 2020 21;6:45. Epub 2020 Sep 21.

Department of Cancer Prevention and Control, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Buffalo, NY USA.

Energy imbalance has an important role in breast cancer prognosis. Hyperactive mechanistic Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) pathway is associated with breast tumor growth, but the extent to which body fatness is associated with mTOR pathway activities in breast cancer is unclear. We performed immunostaining for mTOR, phosphorylated (p)-mTOR, p-AKT, and p-p70S6K in tumor tissue from 590 women (464 African Americans/Blacks and 126 Whites) with newly diagnosed invasive breast cancer in the Women's Circle of Health Study. Anthropometric measures were taken by study staff, and body composition was measured by bioelectrical impedance analysis. Linear regressions were used to estimate percent differences in protein expression between categories of body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, waist/hip ratio, fat mass, fat mass index, and percent body fat. We observed that BMI ≥ 35.0 vs. <25 kg/m was associated with 108.3% (95% CI = 16.9%-270.9%) and 101.8% (95% CI = 17.0%-248.8%) higher expression in p-mTOR and normalized p-mTOR, i.e., p-mTOR/mTOR, respectively. Quartiles 4 vs. 1 of waist/hip ratio was associated with 41.8% (95% CI = 5.81%-89.9%) higher mTOR expression. Similar associations were observed for the body fat measurements, particularly in patients with estrogen receptor-negative (ER-) tumors, but not in those with ER+ tumors, although the differences in associations were not significant. This tumor-based study found positive associations between body fatness and mTOR pathway activation, evident by a p-mTOR expression, in breast cancer. Our findings suggest that mTOR inhibition can be a treatment strategy to prevent the recurrence of these tumors in obese individuals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41523-020-00187-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7505987PMC
September 2020

Genetic variants in anti-Müllerian hormone-related genes and breast cancer risk: results from the AMBER consortium.

Breast Cancer Res Treat 2021 Jan 22;185(2):469-478. Epub 2020 Sep 22.

Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, 2104F McGavran-Greenberg Hall, Chapel Hill, NC, 27599-7435, USA.

Purpose: Circulating anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) levels are positively associated with time to menopause and breast cancer risk. We examined breast cancer associations with single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the AMH gene or its receptor genes, ACVR1 and AMHR2, among African American women.

Methods: In the AMBER consortium, we tested 65 candidate SNPs, and 1130 total variants, in or near AMH, ACVR1, and AMHR2 and breast cancer risk. Overall, 3649 cases and 4230 controls contributed to analyses. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for breast cancer were calculated using multivariable logistic regression.

Results: After correction for multiple comparisons (false-discovery rate of 5%), there were no statistically significant associations with breast cancer risk. Without correction for multiple testing, four candidate SNPs in ACVR1 and one near AMH were associated with breast cancer risk. In ACVR1, rs13395576[C] was associated with lower breast cancer risk overall (OR 0.84; 95% CI 0.72, 0.97) and for ER+ disease (OR 0.75; CI 0.62, 0.89) (p < 0.05). Rs1220110[A] and rs1220134[T] each had ORs of 0.89-0.90 for postmenopausal and ER+ breast cancer (p ≤ 0.03). Conversely, rs1682130[T] was associated with higher risk of ER+ breast cancer (OR 1.17; 95% CI 1.04, 1.32). Near AMH, rs6510652[T] had ORs of 0.85-0.90 for breast cancer overall and after menopause (p ≤ 0.02).

Conclusions: The present results, from a large study of African American women, provide limited support for an association between AMH-related polymorphisms and breast cancer risk and require replication in other studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10549-020-05944-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7867570PMC
January 2021

Relationships between Breast Feeding and Breast Cancer Subtypes: Lessons Learned from Studies in Humans and in Mice.

Cancer Res 2020 11 14;80(22):4871-4877. Epub 2020 Aug 14.

Department of Cellular and Molecular Biology, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Buffalo, New York.

There are differential risk relationships between parity and breast cancer according to estrogen receptor (ER) status, with an increased risk of ER disease reduced by breastfeeding. This may be particularly relevant for understanding the higher incidence of ER tumors in Black women, who are more likely to be parous and less likely to breastfeed than other U.S. groups. Potential mechanisms for these relationships may include effects of disordered breast involution on inflammatory milieu in the breast as well as epigenetic reprogramming in the mammary gland, which can affect cell fate decisions in progenitor cell pools. In normal breast tissue, parity has been associated with hypermethylation of , a pioneer transcription factor that promotes the luminal phenotype in luminal progenitors, while repressing the basal phenotype. In breast tumors, relationships between methylation and parity were strongest among women who did not breastfeed. Here, we summarize the epidemiologic literature regarding parity, breastfeeding, and breast cancer subtypes, and review potential mechanisms whereby these factors may influence breast carcinogenesis, with a focus on effects on progenitor cell pools in the mammary gland.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-20-0077DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7669594PMC
November 2020

Germline HOXB13 mutations p.G84E and p.R217C do not confer an increased breast cancer risk.

Sci Rep 2020 06 16;10(1):9688. Epub 2020 Jun 16.

Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.

In breast cancer, high levels of homeobox protein Hox-B13 (HOXB13) have been associated with disease progression of ER-positive breast cancer patients and resistance to tamoxifen treatment. Since HOXB13 p.G84E is a prostate cancer risk allele, we evaluated the association between HOXB13 germline mutations and breast cancer risk in a previous study consisting of 3,270 familial non-BRCA1/2 breast cancer cases and 2,327 controls from the Netherlands. Although both recurrent HOXB13 mutations p.G84E and p.R217C were not associated with breast cancer risk, the risk estimation for p.R217C was not very precise. To provide more conclusive evidence regarding the role of HOXB13 in breast cancer susceptibility, we here evaluated the association between HOXB13 mutations and increased breast cancer risk within 81 studies of the international Breast Cancer Association Consortium containing 68,521 invasive breast cancer patients and 54,865 controls. Both HOXB13 p.G84E and p.R217C did not associate with the development of breast cancer in European women, neither in the overall analysis (OR = 1.035, 95% CI = 0.859-1.246, P = 0.718 and OR = 0.798, 95% CI = 0.482-1.322, P = 0.381 respectively), nor in specific high-risk subgroups or breast cancer subtypes. Thus, although involved in breast cancer progression, HOXB13 is not a material breast cancer susceptibility gene.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-65665-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7297796PMC
June 2020

Racial differences in CD8 T cell infiltration in breast tumors from Black and White women.

Breast Cancer Res 2020 06 9;22(1):62. Epub 2020 Jun 9.

Department of Cancer Prevention and Control, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Buffalo, NY, USA.

Background: African American/Black women with breast cancer have poorer survival than White women, and this disparity persists even after adjusting for non-biological factors. Differences in tumor immune biology have been reported between Black and White women, and the tumor immune milieu could potentially drive racial differences in breast cancer etiology and outcome.

Methods: We examined the association of CD8 cytotoxic T cells with clinical-pathological variables in the Women's Circle of Health Study (WCHS) population of predominantly Black breast cancer patients. We evaluated 688 invasive breast tumor samples (550 Black, 138 White) using immunohistochemical staining of tissue microarray slides. CD8 T cells were scored for each patient tumor sample with digital image analysis.

Results: Black women had a significantly higher percentage of high-grade, estrogen receptor (ER)-negative, and triple-negative tumors than White women and significantly higher CD8 T cell density (median 87.6/mm vs. 53.1/mm; p < 0.001). Within the overall population and in the population of Black women only, CD8 T cell density was significantly higher in younger patients and patients with high-grade and ER/PR-negative tumors. No significant associations were observed between CD8 T cell density and overall survival or breast cancer-specific survival in the overall population, or when Black patients were analyzed as a separate group. However, when stratified by subtype, Black women with triple-negative breast cancer and high CD8 T cell density showed a trend towards better overall survival in comparison with patients with low CD8 T cell density (HR = 0.51; 95% CI 0.25-1.04).

Conclusions: Our data raise the possibility that distinct mechanisms of immune cell action may occur in different racial groups.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13058-020-01297-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7285742PMC
June 2020

Somatic mutations of triple-negative breast cancer: a comparison between Black and White women.

Breast Cancer Res Treat 2020 Jul 21;182(2):503-509. Epub 2020 May 21.

Department of Cancer Prevention and Control, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Elm & Carlton Streets, Buffalo, NY, 14263, USA.

Purpose: Understanding the contribution of tumor genome biology to racial disparities of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is important for narrowing the cancer mortality gap between Black and White women.

Methods: We evaluated tumor somatic mutations using targeted sequencing of a customized panel of 151 genes and 15 copy number variations (CNVs) within a population of 133 TNBC patients, including 71 Black and 62 White women.

Results: The overall mutational burden between Black and White women with TNBC was not significantly different, with a median of 5 somatic changes per patient (point mutations and CNVs combined) for the customized panel (range 1-31 for Blacks vs. 1-26 for Whites; p = 0.76). Of the 151 genes examined, none were mutated at a significantly higher frequency in Black than in White cases, whereas two genes were mutated at a higher frequency in White cases-PIK3CA and NCOR1. No significant difference in the frequency of CNVs was observed between Black and White women with TNBC in our study population.

Conclusion: Of gene mutations and CNVs in TNBC tumors from Black and White women, only PIK3CA and NCOR1 had significantly different, although slight, frequencies by race. These results indicate that overall differences observed in the mutation spectra between Black and White women with breast cancer are likely due to the differential distributions of breast cancer subtypes by race.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10549-020-05693-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7313393PMC
July 2020

Contribution of Germline Predisposition Gene Mutations to Breast Cancer Risk in African American Women.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2020 12;112(12):1213-1221

Departments of Health Sciences Research, Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, and Oncology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55902, USA.

Background: The risks of breast cancer in African American (AA) women associated with inherited mutations in breast cancer predisposition genes are not well defined. Thus, whether multigene germline hereditary cancer testing panels are applicable to this population is unknown. We assessed associations between mutations in panel-based genes and breast cancer risk in 5054 AA women with breast cancer and 4993 unaffected AA women drawn from 10 epidemiologic studies.

Methods: Germline DNA samples were sequenced for mutations in 23 cancer predisposition genes using a QIAseq multiplex amplicon panel. Prevalence of mutations and odds ratios (ORs) for associations with breast cancer risk were estimated with adjustment for study design, age, and family history of breast cancer.

Results: Pathogenic mutations were identified in 10.3% of women with estrogen receptor (ER)-negative breast cancer, 5.2% of women with ER-positive breast cancer, and 2.3% of unaffected women. Mutations in BRCA1, BRCA2, and PALB2 were associated with high risks of breast cancer (OR = 47.55, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 10.43 to >100; OR = 7.25, 95% CI = 4.07 to 14.12; OR = 8.54, 95% CI = 3.67 to 24.95, respectively). RAD51D mutations were associated with high risk of ER-negative disease (OR = 7.82, 95% CI = 1.61 to 57.42). Moderate risks were observed for CHEK2, ATM, ERCC3, and FANCC mutations with ER-positive cancer, and RECQL mutations with all breast cancer.

Conclusions: The study identifies genes that predispose to breast cancer in the AA population, demonstrates the validity of current breast cancer testing panels for use in AA women, and provides a basis for increased referral of AA patients for cancer genetic testing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djaa040DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7735769PMC
December 2020
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