New Paradigm of Breast Cancer Causation and Prevention

Institution: University of California, San Francisco
Investigator(s): Robert Hiatt, M.D., Ph.D. - Robert Hiatt, M.D., Ph.D. -
Award Cycle: 2009 (Cycle 15) Grant #: 15QB-8301A Award: $76,968
Award Type: SRI Request for Qualifications-RFQ
Research Priorities
Etiology and Prevention>Prevention and Risk Reduction: ending the danger of breast cancer

This is a collaboration with: 15QB-8301 -

Final Report (2015)

This project created a model of the important elements that are considered causes of breast cancer to enlighten current thinking on the origins of breast cancer. Because the causes of breast cancer are complex and incompletely understood, the model we have created takes into account some of this complexity at multiple levels from the genetic and cellular to the social level. The novelty of our approach is that it includes the “causes of the causes” not just the proximate factors. In this way we hope that the model will illustrate to users that even elements as diverse as where women have lived as young girls, their physical activity, environmental exposures and genetic susceptibility may play a role in breast cancer’s appearance in adult life. This project stands back and uses the collective wisdom of multiple disciplinary perspectives to create a conceptual model that recognizes the causation of breast cancer from a complex systems approach. The model we have produced not only provides common ground for understanding, but point up gaps in our knowledge that require further investigation. We want the transdisciplinary approach we have used to lead to discoveries at the intersections of disciplines that may not otherwise have been obvious.

In the period covered by this Progress Report, we completed the final review and details on the conceptual model and spent most of our time completing and refining the mathematical model. The final steps for the mathematical model proved very challenging due to the exacting requirements of the data as well as conceptual and computational reasons. During this final extension we completed the mathematical model and the final manuscript. The manuscript was approved by all co-authors after two rounds of review and also reviewed by outside advisors. The manuscript contains both the conceptual and mathematical models as well as an extensive reference list linked to the conceptual model, making a standard journal presentation also a challenge. The manuscript is now under review in a widely read, high impact general medical journal. As a final step we are in discussions with the CBCRP as to how to best display the model and its dynamic qualities on their website.