Penn Researchers Awarded $10 Million Grant To Study Link Between Genes And Hormone-Related Cancers

November 23, 1998

(Philadelphia, PA) -- Whether taken to counteract menopausal symptoms with hormone replacement therapy or as oral contraceptives to prevent pregnancy, external hormones can increase the risk of breast and uterine cancers. To advance the investigation of hormone-induced female cancers, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have been awarded a five-year Program Project Grant by the National Cancer Institute totaling nearly $10 million. This study has been dubbed by the investigators as "WISE: Women's Insights and Shared Experiences."

While female hormones can be risk factors for select cancers, a woman's genetic make-up may also affect her response to hormone exposures and the development of hormone-sensitive cancers. "The study's main objectives are to identify who is genetically susceptible to developing breast and uterine cancers, and to determine whether the anti-estrogen steroid progestin can help offset the increased risk of uterine cancers when added to traditional hormone replacement therapy, which consists of estrogen alone," explains Brian L. Strom, MD, MPH, principal investigator of the study and Chair of the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at Penn. "A better understanding of the interaction between hormones and genetic mechanisms will have a great impact on how female cancers are addressed."

The $9.9 million WISE study combines the expertise of pharmacoepidemiologists, genetic epidemiologists, and molecular biologists to examine the relationships among hormone exposures, inherited susceptibility, and the genetic consequences of these exposures in the development of hormone-sensitive female cancers. The study is composed of three inter-related projects; two of which are population-based to ensure representation of the entire population and to eliminate selection bias.

The two population-based projects involve the random selection of women diagnosed with breast or uterine cancer from the entire Philadelphia-metropolitan area. These cancer cases will then be compared to a set of women without a personal cancer history. Study participants will undergo a telephone interview and will have their medical history reviewed. DNA samples will also be collected to examine hormone metabolism. The third project will focus on the use of animal and human basic science studies to evaluate the effect of hormone exposures on the expression of specific genes. The innovative combination of population-based studies and basic science studies into a single project could provide insight into multiple aspects of hormone-related cancers.

While many women may be exposed to hormonal compounds that can affect cancer risk, not all women may be equally affected by these exposures. A woman's genes may, in part, predict increased cancer risk following hormone exposures. "This study will provide information about both hormone exposures and the genes that may affect a woman's response to those exposures," states Timothy R. Rebbeck, PhD, co-principal investigator of the study and assistant professor of Epidemiology. "This could help us to better understand hormonal pathways that are associated with cancer, and to identify specific women in the population whose cancer risk may be increased after taking hormones."
-end-
Editor's Notes: Dr. Strom can be reached directly at 215-898-2368; Dr Rebbeck can be reached at 215-898-1793.
-end-


University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.