Penn Researchers Awarded $10 Million Grant To Study Link Between Genes And,,Hormone-Related Cancers

(Philadelphia, PA) -- Whether taken to counteract menopausal symptoms with hormone replacement therapy or as oral contraceptives to prevent pregnancy, external hormones can increase the risk of breast and uterine cancers. To advance the investigation of hormone-induced female cancers, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have been awarded a five-year Program Project Grant by the National Cancer Institute totaling nearly $10 million. This study has been dubbed by the investigators as "WISE: Women's Insights and Shared Experiences."

While female hormones can be risk factors for select cancers, a woman's genetic make-up may also affect her response to hormone exposures and the development of hormone-sensitive cancers. "The study's main objectives are to identify who is genetically susceptible to developing breast and uterine cancers, and to determine whether the anti-estrogen steroid progestin can help offset the increased risk of uterine cancers when added to traditional hormone replacement therapy, which consists of estrogen alone," explains Brian L. Strom, MD, MPH, principal investigator of the study and Chair of the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at Penn. "A better understanding of the interaction between hormones and genetic mechanisms will have a great impact on how female cancers are addressed."

The $9.9 million WISE study combines the expertise of pharmacoepidemiologists, genetic epidemiologists, and molecular biologists to examine the relationships among hormone exposures, inherited susceptibility, and the genetic consequences of these exposures in the development of hormone-sensitive female cancers. The study is composed of three inter-related projects; two of which are population-based to ensure representation of the entire population and to eliminate selection bias.

The two population-based projects involve the random selection of women diagnosed with breast or uterine cancer from the entire Phi

Contact: Diane Giaccone
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

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