Professor and Chair
Department of Cancer Prevention and Control
Roswell Park Cancer Institute
Buffalo, New York
Seeking answers to why some women develop aggressive breast cancers called triple negative.
Studyies are planned to understand the relationship between breastfeeding and breast cancer risk.
These studies will provide new information on developmental processes during and after pregnancy that may affect the risk of triple negative breast cancer in some women.
Many factors in breast cancer development determine whether a tumor requires estrogen to grow (what is called estrogen receptor(ER)-positive breast cancer) or can survive without estrogen, ER-negative breast cancer. Those that can grow without estrogen tend to be more aggressive and do not respond to targeted therapies used in ER-postive breast cancer, such as tamoxifen or aromotase inhibitors.
Drs. Ambrosone and Hong are studying a gene called FOXA1 that is important in preventing development of ER-negative tumors. They recently showed that FOXA1 levels were lower in ER-negative breast cancers in women who did breastfeed after childbirth.
To determine if this pattern of FOXA-1 expression reflects reproductive events prior to development of cancer, the research team will conduct studies to compare FOXA-1 levels in breast cancer patients and in women without cancer. The team is interested in understanding the affect of not breastfeeding on molecular changes in normal breast tissue that could increase the risk of ER-negative breast cancers.
Results will increase understanding of the origins of ER-negative breast cancer, and why not breastfeeding may increase risk.
Dr. Ambrosone is a Professor of Oncology and Chair of the Department of Cancer Prevention and Control at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. She is also co-leader of the CCSG Population Sciences Program. She was formerly a member of NCI’s EPIC Study Section and the ACS’s study section on Carcinogenesis, Nutrition and the Environment, and has served on several special emphasis panels and SPORE reviews. She is former Senior Editor for Cancer Research, was a member of the Board of Scientific Advisors to the Director of the National Cancer Institute until 2012, and served on the Interagency Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Coordinating Committee, established by the US Secretary of Health and Human Services to examine the state of the science on breast cancer and the environment and provide recommendations for future directions in research.
Dr. Ambrosone’s research focuses on both the etiology of breast cancer and factors that influence recurrence and survival after breast cancer diagnosis. She is principal investigator with colleagues at Boston University and University of North Carolina of a multi-center study to identify genetic and non-genetic factors that could account for the high prevalence of more aggressive breast tumors among African-American women. She is also involved in studies of genetic variability in cancer treatment outcomes (pharmacogenetics) and the potential effects of diet, supplements and lifestyle factors during and after therapy on breast cancer treatment outcomes.