What is Breast Cancer?

Very broadly, Breast Cancer refers to malignant tumors that result from uncontrolled mutated breast cells.  For detailed explanations of what breast cancer is, click here and here. While we know that there are some germ line mutations that are inherited (BRCA1, BRCA2, CHEK2), most breast cancers are the result of mutations that happen along the way throughout your life.

The Mayo Clinic offers a list of symptoms that can help you determine when it is time to see a doctor.

There is so much controversy about how both the surveillance and the treatment of breast cancer.  Some of the questions that have come up in my research have to do with whether mammograms actually contribute to causing cancer.  Other controversies include whether breast cancer is both over- and under-diagnosed?  Which chemotherapy drugs (if any) should be used to treat it? What are the root causes of breast cancer?  Is breast feeding preventative?

The list below offers some of the latest selected research on the topic, ranging from innovative treatments, to risk factors, to psychosocial responses. The list is organized chronologically in no particular order.  I have selected readings that are somewhat readable (sometimes difficult) for a general audience.  I have excluded those readings that I just couldn’t understand.


2016 Selected Research

NCI Launches Large Study of Breast Cancer Genetics in Black Women

J Abbasi – JAMA, 2016
Why are African-American women more likely to die from breast cancer than women of all
other races? And why are rates of triple-negative breast cancer twice as high in black
women than in white women? These longstanding questions are the main focus of a new

What lies beneath the epigenetic signatures associated with breast cancer and how do we find out?

A Murrell – UK Breast Cancer Research Symposium, 2016
Epigenetic features such as DNA methylation status, histone modifications and chromatin
states have been extensively profiled in the genome. Combinatorial epigenetic marks
(epigenetic signatures) are emerging as breast cancer biomarkers and several studies are

Possible supplemental breast cancer screening modalities

T Uematsu – Breast Cancer, 2016
Mammography is the only screening modality that has been proven to reduce breast cancer
mortality, apart from access to therapy; however, it is not the perfect screening modality for
women with dense breasts. Although digital mammography has been shown to be more

Post-treatment problems of African American breast cancer survivors

AM Barsevick, A Leader, PK Bradley, T Avery, LT Dean… – Supportive Care in Cancer, 2016
Purpose African American breast cancer survivors (AABCS) have a lower survival rate
across all disease stages (79%) compared with White survivors (92%) and often have more
aggressive forms of breast cancer requiring multimodality treatment, so they could

On metabolic reprogramming and tumor biology: A comprehensive survey of metabolism inbreast cancer.

J Penkert, T Ripperger, M Schieck, B Schlegelberger… – Oncotarget, 2016
Altered metabolism in tumor cells has been a focus of cancer research for as long as a
century but has remained controversial and vague due to an inhomogeneous overall
picture. Accumulating genomic, metabolomic, and lastly panomic data as well as

Epidemiology of Breast Cancer

RM Tamimi – Pathology and Epidemiology of Cancer, 2017
Abstract In this chapter, we introduce the reader to breast cancer epidemiology, with a
specific focus on risk factors and breast cancer subtypes. We begin the chapter with
descriptive epidemiology and present breast cancer incidence and mortality rates, and

Menopausal hormone therapy associated with breast cancer

ME Jones – Reactions, 2016
The age at menopause was known in 39 183 of the 58 148 postmenopausal women; the
age was usually unknown because the women had started MHT or undergone hysterectomy
without oophorectomy prior to the cessation of menstrual bleeding. Of the women who had

Accelerated whole breast irradiation in early breast cancer patients with adverse prognostic features.

SW Lee, KH Shin, EK Chie, JH Kim, SA Im, W Han… – Oncotarget, 2016
PURPOSE: Accelerated whole breast irradiation (AWBI) and conventional whole breast
irradiation (CWBI) were compared to determine whether AWBI is as effective as CWBI in
patients with early breast cancer and adverse prognostic features. PATIENTS AND

Fiber intake modulates the association of alcohol intake with breast cancer

I Romieu, P Ferrari, V Chajès, J de Batlle, C Biessy… – International Journal of …, 2016
Abstract Alcohol intake has been related to an increased risk of breast cancer (BC) while
dietary fiber intake has been inversely associated to BC risk. A beneficial effect of fibers on
ethanol carcinogenesis through their impact on estrogen levels is still controversial. We

Effect of decision aid for breast cancer prevention on decisional conflict in women with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation: a multisite, randomized, controlled trial

KA Metcalfe, CL Dennis, A Poll, S Armel, R Demsky… – Genetics in Medicine, 2016
Purpose: Women with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation are at high risk for breast cancer and
must make important decisions about breast cancer prevention and screening. In the current
study, we report a multisite, randomized, controlled trial evaluating the effectiveness of a

Height and Body Size in Childhood, Adolescence, and Young Adulthood and Breast Cancer Risk According to Molecular Subtype in the Nurses’ Health Studies

ET Warner, R Hu, LC Collins, AH Beck, S Schnitt… – Cancer Prevention …, 2016
Abstract Height and body size in childhood and young adulthood have been consistently
associated with breast cancer risk; whether associations differ across molecular subtypes is
unclear. In a pooled analysis of the Nurses’ Health Studies, we prospectively examined

Adiposity, breast density, and breast cancer risk: epidemiological and biological considerations.

L Soguel, F Durocher, A Tchernof, C Diorio – European Journal of Cancer Prevention, 2016
Abstract Excess total body fat and abdominal adipose tissue are recognized risk factors for
metabolic diseases but also for some types of cancers, including breast cancer. Several
biological mechanisms in connection with local and systemic effects of adiposity are

[PDF] Experiences to Chemotherapy among Women with Breast Cancer

PPJ Espinosa, MJP Espinosa – 2016
Abstract Few qualitative studies explore patients’ experience due to receiving chemotherapy
agents. Issues, such as how such changes impact daily life and functioning, their
consequences, and how patients respond to chemotherapy changes, have not previously

Use of complementary therapies for side effect management in breast cancer: evidence and rationale

K Roe, MK Visovatti, T Brooks, M Baydoun, P Clark… – Breast Cancer Management, 2016
Women diagnosed with breast cancer can experience chronic side effects after curative
treatment concludes, negatively impacting survivorship. The most prevalent side effects
addressed in the medical and nursing literature include symptoms such as hot flashes,

Genome-wide Association Studies in Women of African Ancestry Identified 3q26. 21 as a Novel Susceptibility Locus for Estrogen Receptor Negative Breast Cancer

D Huo, Y Feng, S Haddad, Y Zheng, S Yao, YJ Han… – Human Molecular Genetics, 2016
Abstract Multiple breast cancer loci have been identified in previous genome-wide
association studies, but they were mainly conducted in populations of European ancestry.
Women of African ancestry are more likely to have young-onset and estrogen receptor (

Concerns about Breast Cancer, Pain, and Fatigue in Non-Metastatic Breast Cancer Patients Undergoing Primary Treatment.

CR Amiel, HM Fisher, MH Antoni – Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland), 2016
Women diagnosed with breast cancer often endorse psychosocial concerns prior to
treatment, which may influence symptom experiences. Among these, low perceived social
support relates to elevated fatigue. Those with low social support perceptions may also

Cause‐specific mortality in women with breast cancer in situ

W He, LS Lindström, P Hall, K Czene – International Journal of Cancer, 2016
Abstract The long-term mortality remains unknown in women diagnosed with breast cancer
in situ (BCIS). Here we assessed the cause-specific mortality in BCIS patients. This
population-based cohort study included 12 243 women diagnosed with BCIS in Sweden

What Do Myeloma, Breast Cancer, and Prostate Cancer Have in Common?

WB Isaacs – European Urology, 2016
Somewhat surprisingly, prostate cancer (PCa) is consistently estimated to have a stronger
inherited risk component than most other common cancers, including those of the colon and
breast [1]. The existence of an important hereditary component of prostate cancer risk was

Identification of breast cancer cell subtypes sensitive to ATG4B inhibition.

S Bortnik, C Choutka, HM Horlings, S Leung, JH Baker… – Oncotarget, 2016
Autophagy, a lysosome-mediated degradation and recycling process, functions in advanced
malignancies to promote cancer cell survival and contribute to cancer progression and drug
resistance. While various autophagy inhibition strategies are under investigation for

[PDF] Systematic functional characterization of resistance to PI3K inhibition in breast cancer

X Le, R Antony, P Razavi, DJ Treacy, F Luo, M Ghandi… – Cancer Discovery, 2016
Abstract PIK3CA (which encodes the phosphoinositide-3 kinase (PI3K) alpha isoform) is the
most frequently mutated oncogene in breast cancer. Small-molecule PI3K inhibitors have
shown promise in clinical trials; however, intrinsic and acquired resistance limits their

Tumour cell invasion into blood vessels is significantly related to breast cancer subtypes and decreased survival

TA Klingen, Y Chen, IM Stefansson, G Knutsvik… – Journal of Clinical …, 2016
Aims Vascular invasion in breast cancer is associated with increased risk of recurrence,
metastases and death from disease. However, there are few studies discriminating between
blood vessel invasion (BVI) and lymphatic vessel involvement (LVI). Methods A population

Subsequent Breast Cancer Risk Following Diagnosis of Atypical Ductal Hyperplasia on Needle Biopsy

TS Menes, K Kerlikowske, J Lange, S Jaffer… – JAMA oncology, 2016
IMPORTANCE Atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH) is a known risk factor for breast cancer. Published
risk estimates are based on cohorts that included women whose ADH was diagnosed before
widespread use of screening mammograms and did not differentiate between the

Increasing Precision in Adjuvant Therapy for Breast Cancer

CA Hudis, M Dickler – 2016
Genomic testing of tumors can enable improved matching of individual patients or groups
with treatments, but it can also identify situations where a specific intervention is not
effective. In the recently reported results of the Trial Assigning Individualized Options for

[HTML] Changes in diet quality in a randomized weight loss trial in breast cancer survivors: the lifestyle, exercise, and nutrition (LEAN) study

C Anderson, M Harrigan, SM George, LM Ferrucci… – npj Breast Cancer, 2016
Abstract Obesity is associated with increased breast cancer recurrence and mortality.
Though some post-diagnosis weight loss interventions have achieved weight loss
outcomes, it is unclear whether they also improve diet quality. In the Lifestyle, Exercise,

Tailoring breast cancer screening intervals by breast density and risk for women aged 50 years or older: collaborative modeling of screening outcomes

A Trentham-Dietz, K Kerlikowske, NK Stout… – Annals of Internal Medicine, 2016

Biomarkers for early-stage breast cancer: Clinical utility for extended adjuvant treatment decisions

DC Sgroi, A Brufsky – Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2016
In a new clinical practice guideline entitled “Use of Biomarkers to Guide Decisions on
Adjuvant Systemic Therapy for Women With Early-Stage Invasive Breast Cancer: American
Society of Clinical Oncology Clinical Practice Guidelines”, Harris et al 1 reviewed the

Breast cancer risk prediction using a clinical risk model and polygenic risk score

Y Shieh, D Hu, L Ma, S Huntsman, CC Gard… – Breast Cancer Research …, 2016
Abstract Breast cancer risk assessment can inform the use of screening and prevention
modalities. We investigated the performance of the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium
(BCSC) risk model in combination with a polygenic risk score (PRS) comprised of 83

Post-diagnosis Weight Change and Survival Following a Diagnosis of Early Stage Breast Cancer

EM Cespedes, CH Kroenke, PT Bradshaw, WY Chen… – … Epidemiology Biomarkers & …, 2016
Background: Achieving healthy weight is recommended for all breast cancer survivors.
Previous research on post-diagnosis weight change and mortality had conflicting results.
Materials and Methods: We examined whether change in bodyweight in the 18mo

Identifying biomarkers to select patients with early breast cancer suitable for extended adjuvant endocrine therapy.

M Abramovitz, A Krie, N Dey, P De, C Williams… – Current Opinion in Oncology, 2016
Abstract Purpose of review: In this review, we summarize recent and current biomarkers and
assays that are being considered in the selection of suitable patients with estrogen receptor-
positive early breast cancer for extended (years 5-10) adjuvant endocrine therapy (AET).

Improvement in risk prediction, early detection and prevention of breast cancer in the NHSBreast Screening Programme and family history clinics: a dual cohort study

DG Evans, S Astley, P Stavrinos, E Harkness… – 2016
BACKGROUND: In the UK, women are invited for 3-yearly mammography screening,
through the NHS Breast Screening Programme (NHSBSP), from the ages of 47–50 years to
the ages of 69–73 years. Women with family histories of breast cancer can, from the age of

Effects of In Utero Exposure to Ethinyl Estradiol on Tamoxifen Resistance and Breast CancerRecurrence in a Preclinical Model

L Hilakivi-Clarke, A Wärri, KB Bouker, X Zhang… – Journal of the National …, 2017
Background: Responses to endocrine therapies vary among patients with estrogen receptor
(ER+) breast cancer. We studied whether in utero exposure to endocrine-disrupting
compounds might explain these variations. Methods: We describe a novel ER+ breast

[PDF] Preclinical Study for Targeted Breast Cancer Therapy

K Bond, L McCormick, J Karroll – 2016
Similarly, monoclonal antibodies are signal proteins which can bind to specific receptor
proteins on the outside of cancer cells, prompting the 9 Page 20. of time it takes to cure their
disease, so they might attempt increasing their dosage with the hope

The impact of patient navigation on the delivery of diagnostic breast cancer care in the National Patient Navigation Research Program: a prospective meta-analysis

TA Battaglia, JS Darnell, N Ko, F Snyder, ED Paskett… – Breast Cancer Research …, 2016
Abstract Patient navigation is emerging as a standard in breast cancer care delivery, yet
multi-site data on the impact of navigation at reducing delays along the continuum of care
are lacking. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of navigation on

Ovarian Stimulation for In Vitro Fertilization and Long-term Risk of Breast Cancer

AW van den Belt-Dusebout, M Spaan, CB Lambalk… – JAMA, 2016
Design, Setting, and Participants Historical cohort (OMEGA study) with complete follow-up
through December 2013 for 96% of the cohort. The cohort included 19 158 women who
started IVF treatment between 1983 and 1995 (IVF group) and 5950 women starting other

Longitudinal Association of Poor Sleep Quality With Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea and Vomiting in Patients With Breast Cancer.

D Jung, KM Lee, WH Kim, JY Lee, TY Kim, SA Im… – Psychosomatic Medicine, 2016
Objective: Risk factors for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) include older
age, female sex, alcohol consumption, and a history of motion sickness. Although
gastrointestinal symptoms are found to be related with sleep and mood in other conditions

[PDF] Glycosylation-dependent binding of galectin-8 to activated leukocyte cell adhesion molecule (ALCAM/CD166) promotes its surface segregation on breast cancer cells

GA Rabinovich, MT Elola – 2016
Background: We previously demonstrated that the activated leukocyte cell adhesion
molecule (ALCAM/CD166) can interact with galectin-8 (Gal-8) in endothelial cells. ALCAM is
a member of the immunoglobulin superfamily that promotes homophilic and heterophilic

[HTML] Commentary: On Gao C et al. Mendelian randomization study of adiposity-related traits and risk of breast, ovarian, prostate, lung and colorectal cancer

DA Lawlor – International Journal of Epidemiology, 2016
Can we really use MR to test effects of adiposity on (breast) cancer at different life stages? The
authors speculate that the protective effect of adult BMI on breast cancer (including
postmenopausal) might represent a complex interplay between early life BMI and later weight

Individual patient data meta-analysis shows a significant association between the ATM rs1801516 SNP and toxicity after radiotherapy in 5456 breast and prostate …

CN Andreassen, BS Rosenstein, SL Kerns, H Ostrer… – Radiotherapy and Oncology, 2016
2759 patients were given radiotherapy for breast cancer and 2697 for prostate cancer. As
part of this process, 17 cohorts (6 for prostate cancer and 11 for breast cancer) were
submitted and all of these were included in the present meta-analysis.

Paclitaxel plus Bevacizumab or Paclitaxel as First-line Treatment for HER2-Negative MetastaticBreast Cancer in a Multicenter National Observational Study

S Delaloge, D Pérol, C Courtinard, E Brain, B Asselain… – Annals of Oncology, 2016
Background Bevacizumab combined with paclitaxel as first-line chemotherapy for patients
with HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer (MBC) has led to mixed results in randomized
trials, with an improvement in progression-free survival (PFS) but no statistically significant

Measuring cognitive complaints in breast cancer survivors: psychometric properties of the patient’s assessment of own functioning inventory

K Van Dyk, PA Ganz, L Ercoli, L Petersen, CM Crespi – Supportive Care in Cancer, 2016
Purpose Cognitive complaints are a concern for breast cancer survivors. Among various
published measures for cognitive complaints, the Patient’s Assessment of Own Functioning
Inventory (PAOFI) is one of the few assessing a spectrum of cognitive abilities, including

The impact of tamoxifen brand switch on side effects and patient compliance in hormone receptor positive breast cancer patients

B Zeidan, K Anderson, L Peiris, D Rainsbury, S Laws – The Breast, 2016
Background In 2006 Nolvadex was discontinued and replaced by a variety of alternative
generic tamoxifen brands for the adjuvant treatment of breast cancer. Anecdotally, patients
are switching brands and taking alternative medications to reduce treatment related

Long-term oral bisphosphonate use in relation to fracture risk in postmenopausal women with breast cancer: findings from the Women’s Health Initiative.

RL Drieling, AZ LaCroix, SAA Beresford, DM Boudreau… – Menopause, 2016
Objective: The aim of the study was to examine the association of long-term oral
bisphosphonate use, compared with short-term use, with fracture risk among
postmenopausal women with breast cancer. Methods: We studied 887 postmenopausal