Investigating breast cancer risk factors to understand breast cancer epidemiological outcomes

This proposal aims to expand cancer prevention research in Ireland through the assessment of breast cancer risk factors and their influence on clinically relevant characteristics of aggressive breast cancers.

Prior research has identified factors associated with increased risk of breast cancer development. One such known factor includes mammographic breast density (MBD). MBD describes the bright white areas in the breast that are seen on a breast mammogram. While much research has been carried out identifying its association with breast cancer risk, more research is needed to understand the utility of examining MBD in the setting of a national screening programme so that knowledge about this factor can be leveraged to identify women at highest risk of breast cancer development.

The first component of this study will address the issue of measuring MBD and will be conducted with a group of international researchers from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (Lyon, France). The second component will build on this knowledge gained and assess MBD among women who developed breast cancer that participated in BreastCheck, the National Breast Screening Programme in Ireland. Further, this study will assess associations between MBD and clinical breast cancer characteristics, including how well patients survive their diagnosis. This will be achieved through national and international collaborations.

Collectively these investigations will build upon existing knowledge and provide the first step into assessing MBD among women who participate in breast screening in Ireland. This research will provide new insights into the influence of MBD on clinical characteristics. Ultimately, this study will leverage existing resources and build knowledge to improve strategies for breast cancer prevention through collaborative approaches.

Award Date
16 May 2019
Award Value
€752,126.50
Principal Investigator
Dr Maeve Mullooly
Host Institution
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Scheme
Emerging Investigator Awards Full