Environmental Causes of Breast Cancer across Generations

Institution: Public Health Institute
Investigator(s): Barbara Cohn, Ph.D., MPH, MCP - Barbara Cohn, Ph.D., MPH, MCP -
Award Cycle: 2009 (Cycle 15) Grant #: 15ZB-0186A Award: $3,647,920
Award Type: SRI Program Directed Awards
Research Priorities
Etiology and Prevention>Prevention and Risk Reduction: ending the danger of breast cancer

This is a collaboration with: 15ZB-0186 -

Final Report (2016)

The purpose of Three Generations of Breast Cancer Study (3Gs) is to examine whether exposure to environmental chemicals, such as pesticides, household cleaners, and industrial pollutants, before birth influences breast cancer risk. For this study, we recruited second-generation women from the Child Health and Development Studies, a cohort study launched in 1959, which now includes over 15,000 families. The second-generation participants were first enrolled in the CHDS when their mother was pregnant with them. Mothers provided a health interview and blood samples during pregnancy and the families have been followed for cancer status since the inception of the study. The aims of the 3Gs study include 1) Learn whether fetal exposure to environmental chemicals predicts breast cancer; 2) Re-enroll the second generation (CHDS daughters) and for the first time, recruit third generation females (CHDS granddaughters) to collect blood, urine and saliva samples and health information; and 3) Describe disparities in exposures by race and generation. We completed data collection by enrolling 3286 women in the telephone interview and 1194 in-person visits to collect bio-specimens, exceeding our goal of 955 in-person visits. For the 1194 in-person visits completed, 641 granddaughters participated, a higher proportion than estimated. Additionally, 494 participants enrolled in the PEDIGREE Study (94 more than the target), a 5-year study funded by the National Institutes of Health, which adds a mammogram collection and measurement of genetic changes to the in-person visit for a subset of second generation 3Gs participants. Biospecimen assays for environmental chemicals were completed in the lab of Dr. Myrto Petreas. The CRC funding we received in 2013 to provide individual-level results of these environmental chemicals to 3Gs participants will complete report-back and interviews in early 2016. Analysis of the relationship between in-utero exposure to DDT and breast cancer revealed that maternal o,p’-DDT predicted daughters’ breast cancer. Mothers’ lipids, weight, race, age, and breast cancer history did not explain the findings which were published in JCEM in 2015. Data analysis also revealed that generational differences in PFC levels are consistent with manufacturing changes over time and that PFC levels are higher among non-African Americans in both generations. Data analysis has identified disparities in other chemical levels in both generations; African Americans have higher levels of organochlorine pesticides and PCBs in both generations. Metabolomics analysis revealed metabolic pathways associated with DDT and PCBs and potential pathways to breast cancer. The CHDS will continue to interrogate these data to increase our understanding of the relationship between these early life environmental exposures and later health effects. This is the beginning of establishing the cohort as an important resource for breast cancer research on environmental exposures during critical developmental windows.

DDT Exposure in Utero and Breast Cancer

Symposium Abstract (2016)

The impact of prenatal parental tobacco smoking on risk of diabetes mellitus in middle-aged women
Periodical:Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease
Index Medicus:
Authors: La Merrill, M.A., Cirillo, P.M., Krigbaum, N.Y., Cohn, B.A.
Yr: 2015 Vol: 10 Nbr: Abs: Pg:1-8

DDT Exposure in Utero and Breast Cancer
Periodical:Journal of Clincal Endocrinology and Metabolism
Index Medicus: J Clin Endocrinol Metab
Authors: Cohn, B.A., La Merrill M., Krigbaum N.Y., Yeh G., Park J-S., Zimmermann L., et al.
Yr: 2015 Vol: 100 Nbr: 8 Abs: Pg:2865-72