DESCRIPTION: (Adapted from Investigator's Abstract) Breast cancer is a
heterogeneous disease with multiple etiologic and molecular pathways. To
help elucidate the basis for this heterogeneity, the investigators propose
(1) to describe the prevalence of over-expression of HER-2/neu and p53 in a
large population-based study of breast cancer patients; (2) to relate known
or hypothesized risk factors for breast cancer to the prevalence of
over-expression of HER-2/neu and p53; (3) to assess whether over-expression
of HER-2/neu or p53 is associated with differential survival; (4) to
estimate the degree of association between race and the incidence of breast
cancer with over-expression of HER-2/neu or p53; and (5) to distinguish
particular patterns of molecular alterations which predict the incidence of
second primary breast cancer. Specifically, they will retrieve 1,544
paraffin-embedded breast tissue blocks from women diagnosed with breast
cancer between 1980 and 1982 who were part of a large population-based
case-control study. Extensive risk factor and follow-up information have
already been collected and computerized. Paraffin blocks will be analyzed
for over-expression of the p53 tumor suppressor gene and HER- 2/neu oncogene
using immunohistochemical staining techniques. The hypothesis is that the
identification of pathologically unique subtypes of tumors will bear a
stronger relationship with certain risk factors. The investigators state
that the purpose of this study is to correlate epidemiologic risk factor
information with specific molecular changes in order to differentiate these
etiologic subgroups and to respond to the aims as briefly stated above.
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