Identification of Gene Expression Profiles Associated With Different Types of Breast Adipose and Their Relationship to Tumorigenesis

Project Details


The female breast is a complex tissue; breast stroma includes a variety of cells including those involved in blood vessels, smooth muscle, immune and nerve cells, structural components, and adipose (or fat). Although research stroma is known to play an active role in tumor development, adipose, the major component of the stroma, has largely been ignored in research studies as it had been considered just a source of energy. New data suggest that the adipose, which provides growth factors and estrogen, especially in postmenopausal women, is involved in tumor development, although exactly how is unclear. We will investigate how adipose contributes to breast cancer by looking at differences in gene expression in different types of breast adipose in postmenopausal women. Comparison of genes expressed in adipose tissue from invasive breasts to adipose taken from benign (non-invasive) breasts will identify genes involved in development of breast cancer. Next, comparing gene expression patterns in fat adjacent to invasive tumors to those from the same breast but at a distance to the tumor will identify genes actively supporting tumor development and progression as well as those genes that indicate unstable breast tissue that is at increased risk of developing invasive breast cancer. The results from this study will improve our understanding of how fat contributes to breast cancer, but also provide new incentives for postmenopausal women to maintain a healthy weight and determine whether the use of abdominal fat from a patient with invasive breast cancer is safe to use in breast reconstruction.

Effective start/end date15/04/1114/05/12


  • Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs: $79,864.00


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