Grants - V Scholar Grants - New York - 2021

Jasmine McDonald, PhD

FUNDED BY THE STUART SCOTT MEMORIAL CANCER RESEARCH FUND

Understanding young women’s breast cancer is a public health priority. In the United States, the rate of metastatic breast cancer is rising faster in women aged 25-39 compared to older women. Pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer for 10 years after birth. Being diagnosed with breast cancer during this period is called postpartum breast cancer (PPBC). PPBC tumors are often more life threatening. Also, while breastfeeding reduces breast cancer risk, we do not know how breastfeeding impacts PPBC. Identifying unique tissue features within the PPBC tumor could lead to better outcomes. We will use the New York Breast Cancer Family Registry to analyze tumor tissue from 150 women. 50 samples from women diagnosed with breast cancer less than 5 years from childbirth (PPBC cases). 50 samples from women diagnosed more than 10 years from childbirth. 50 samples from women diagnosed who have never given birth. We will stain the tumor tissue with four biological markers. These markers have been associated with the spread of breast cancer and death from breast cancer. Staining, or adding coloring, to the tumor tissue will help identify unique features across the breast cancer cases. 

Aim 1: Identify unique features within the tumor samples using the four markers in 150 cases. 

Aim 2: Examine if the unique features predict breast cancer clinical features in 150 cases. 

We know little about the PPBC tumor tissue. Identifying unique tissue features that map to the PPBC tumor can improve survival outcomes for young adult patients.