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Grant Details

Grant Number: 1R21CA226726-01A1 Interpret this number
Primary Investigator: Lindau, Stacy
Organization: University Of Chicago
Project Title: Bionic Breast Project: Towards Restoring Breast Sensory Function in Women with Mastectomy
Fiscal Year: 2019


PROJECT SUMMARY Of more than 3.5 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. today, an estimated one-third have undergone mastectomy. Of these 1.2 million survivors, 40% have had or are considering breast reconstruction procedures. In 2018, an additional 250,000 adult women will receive a breast cancer diagnosis and an estimated 100,000 will undergo mastectomy. Advances in breast reconstruction techniques for women with mastectomy have contributed to improved patient and partner satisfaction by restoring aesthetic aspects or form of the breast. However, even the most advanced reconstructive techniques do not preserve breast function. Loss of breast sensation after mastectomy is a prevalent, well-established and distressing outcome for women that is rarely addressed in the course of breast cancer care. Failure to restore breast function may explain high rates of sexual dysfunction (37-77%) in breast cancer survivors, even among women satisfied with the aesthetic outcome. Little is known about the neural basis of sensory function in the intact breast or about the interactions between sexual arousal and breast sensation. To fill the gap, we will develop and validate a comprehensive patient-reported measure of breast sensory function for use in women with and without breast cancer. We will administer this measure together with the PROMIS Sexual Function and Satisfaction measure to a sample of 500 women with and without breast cancer to examine the relationship between breast sensory function and sexual function following treatment for breast cancer. In parallel, we will apply state-of-the-art psychophysical sensory assays to determine the relative contributions of nerve fibers toward various aspects of breast sensation, as we and others have successfully done in the glabrous skin of the hand. In addition, we will assess the modulation of breast sensation as well as the sensory consequences of blocking individual nerves known to innervate the breast. These experiments on healthy subjects will provide a detailed characterization of breast sensory function, its neural basis, and its modulation by arousal. The specific aims of this research are to: (1) Develop and validate a self-report measure of breast sensory function and examine the link between breast sensory function and sexual function in affected and unaffected women and, (2) Characterize breast sensation, examine its modulation by arousal, and establish its neural substrates using state-of-the-art psychophysical techniques. Together, these aims will improve our understanding of breast sensory function and its relationship to sexual function, permit us to estimate the impact of sensory loss on sexual function and satisfaction, and provide a means to identify women at greatest risk of sexual dysfunction following mastectomy. This developmental work will lay the foundation for surgical innovation and/or the development of a bionic breast to preserve or restore breast function following mastectomy. This proposal addresses NCI’s research priority to alleviate the adverse effects of cancer and its treatment.


Social Risk and Smoking Among Women Smokers Early in the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Role of Mental Health.
Authors: Winslow V.A. , Jagai J.S. , Makelarski J.A. , Wroblewski K.E. , Lindau S.T. , Vu M. .
Source: Journal of women's health (2002), 2023 Sep; 32(9), p. 960-969.
EPub date: 2023-06-28.
PMID: 37379463
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Breast sensorisexual function: a novel patient-reported outcome measure of sexual sensory functions of the breast.
Authors: Abramsohn E.M. , Pinkerton E.A. , Wroblewski K. , Anitescu M. , Flynn K.E. , Hazen A. , Schumm P. , Lindau S.T. .
Source: The journal of sexual medicine, 2023-04-27; 20(5), p. 671-683.
PMID: 36897194
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Perceived Appropriateness of Assessing for Health-related Socioeconomic Risks Among Adult Patients with Cancer.
Authors: Vu M. , Boyd K. , De Marchis E.H. , Garnache B.G. , Gottlieb L.M. , Gross C.P. , Lee N.K. , Lindau S.T. , Mun S. , Winslow V.A. , et al. .
Source: Cancer research communications, 2023 Apr; 3(4), p. 521-531.
EPub date: 2023-04-03.
PMID: 37020993
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Unwanted sexual activity among United States women early in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Authors: Lindau S.T. , Jagai J.S. , Abramsohn E.M. , Fuller C.M. , Wroblewski K.E. , Pinkerton E.A. , Makelarski J.A. .
Source: American journal of obstetrics and gynecology, 2023 Feb; 228(2), p. 209.e1-209.e16.
EPub date: 2022-10-12.
PMID: 36241078
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Caregiving in a Pandemic: Health-Related Socioeconomic Vulnerabilities Among Women Caregivers Early in the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Authors: Boyd K. , Winslow V. , Borson S. , Lindau S.T. , Makelarski J.A. .
Source: Annals of family medicine, 2022 Sep-Oct; 20(5), p. 406-413.
EPub date: 2022-09-02.
PMID: 36228073
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Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health-Related Socioeconomic Risks During the Early COVID-19 Pandemic: A National Survey of U.S. Women.
Authors: Vu M. , Makelarski J.A. , Winslow V.A. , Christmas M.M. , Haider S. , Lee N.K. , Pinkerton E.A. , Wroblewski K.E. , Lindau S.T. .
Source: Journal of women's health (2002), 2021 Oct; 30(10), p. 1375-1385.
EPub date: 2021-09-16.
PMID: 34529520
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Change in Health-Related Socioeconomic Risk Factors and Mental Health During the Early Phase of the COVID-19 Pandemic: A National Survey of U.S. Women.
Authors: Lindau S.T. , Makelarski J.A. , Boyd K. , Doyle K.E. , Haider S. , Kumar S. , Lee N.K. , Pinkerton E. , Tobin M. , Vu M. , et al. .
Source: Journal of women's health (2002), 2021 Apr; 30(4), p. 502-513.
EPub date: 2021-04-05.
PMID: 33818123
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2020 NAMS Virtual Annual Meeting.

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