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Shift Work and Breast Cancer Risk Study

Carla Finkielstein, PhD, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA
Study abstract

The research aims to better understand the contribution of circadian disruption in breast cancer etiology. The researchers will determine the mechanism by which the core clock tumor suppressor period 2 (Per2) modulates the expression and function of estrogen receptor alpha (ERα). The researchers will identify and validate candidate marker proteins, derived from nightshift worker breast biopsies, showing the greatest differences in Per2-associated expression. In addition, they will establish the relevance of Per2-ERα pathway defects for pathological progression and clinical outcome in patient populations.

Study review

Researchers at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg are analyzing breast tissue samples from women who have not had breast cancer and have worked either day shifts or night shifts for at least five consecutive years to better understand whether wake/sleep cycle disruptions may increase breast cancer risk. They are comparing this breast tissue to breast tissue samples collected from women with breast cancer. The researchers wanted to enroll up to 50 volunteers from the Army of Women (AOW). The Call to Action for this study was sent to AOW members on Dec. 6, 2010. The AOW provided them with 340 women who were interested in enrolling in the study. The researchers closed enrollment on Nov. 25, 2013, after identifying 25 day-shift workers and 23 night-shift workers who met their full criteria.

Research Webinar:
Dr. Carla Finkielstein Research 101