Breast cancer incidence study receives $19.3M

UNC scientist Robert Millikan will partner with Christine Ambrosone, of Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and Julie R. Palmer, of Boston University, in the most ambitious study to date of breast cancer among younger African-American women.

Data from UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Carolina Breast Cancer Study demonstrated that African-American women under the age of 45 are more likely to be diagnosed with aggressive types of breast cancer than are women of European ancestry. The current five-year research project has been awarded $19.3 million in funding from the National Cancer Institute to try to understand this important health disparity.

Millikan, PhD, DVM, Barbara Sorenson Hulka Distinguished Professor of Epidemiology in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and a member of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, has directed the Carolina Breast Cancer Study for over a decade.

He explains, “This project will collect data on more than 5,000 African-American women and as such will be the largest study of its type. Our aim is to explore the potential biologic, environmental and epidemiologic causes of this difference in cancer incidence. Our previous studies and those of our colleagues have suggested hypotheses that we will be investigating with this larger group of patients.”

The grant will bring together breast cancer cases from four on-going studies – the Carolina Breast Cancer Study (CBCS), Women’s Circle of Health Study (WCHS), Black Women’s Health Study (BWHS), and Multiethnic Cohort Study (MCS)- and over 5,000 controls, or healthy, women.

Read more.