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1.  Family history of breast cancer and all-cause mortality after breast cancer diagnosis in the Breast Cancer Family Registry 
Background
Although having a family history of breast cancer is a well established breast cancer risk factor, it is not known whether it influences mortality after breast cancer diagnosis.
Methods
Subjects were 4,153 women with first primary incident invasive breast cancer diagnosed between 1991 and 2000, and enrolled in the Breast Cancer Family Registry through population-based sampling in Northern California, USA; Ontario, Canada; and Melbourne and Sydney, Australia. Cases were oversampled for younger age at diagnosis and/or family history of breast cancer. Carriers of germline mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 were excluded. Cases and their relatives completed structured questionnaires assessing breast cancer risk factors and family history of cancer. Cases were followed for a median of 6.5 years, during which 725 deaths occurred. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to evaluate associations between family history of breast cancer at the time of diagnosis and risk of all-cause mortality after breast cancer diagnosis, adjusting for established prognostic factors.
Results
The hazard ratios for all-cause mortality were 0.98 (95% confidence interval [CI]=0.84-1.15) for having at least one first- or second-degree relative with breast cancer, and 0.85 (95% CI=0.70-1.02) for having at least one first-degree relative with breast cancer, compared with having no such family history. Estimates did not vary appreciably when stratified by case or tumor characteristics.
Conclusions
Family history of breast cancer is not associated with all-cause mortality after breast cancer diagnosis for women without a known germline mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2. Therefore, clinical management should not depend on family history of breast cancer.
doi:10.1007/s10549-008-0255-3
PMCID: PMC2728159  PMID: 19034644
breast cancer; survival; mortality; family history
2.  Racial/ethnic variation in EBV-positive classical Hodgkin lymphoma in California populations 
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is detected in the tumor cells of some but not all Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) patients, and evidence indicates that EBV-positive and –negative HL are distinct entities. Racial/ethnic variation in EBV-positive HL in international comparisons suggests etiologic roles for environmental and genetic factors, but these studies used clinical series and evaluated EBV presence by differing protocols. Therefore, we evaluated EBV presence in the tumors of a large (n=1,032), racially and sociodemographically diverse series of California incident classical HL cases with uniform pathology re-review and EBV detection methods. Tumor EBV-positivity was associated with Hispanic and Asian/Pacific Islander (API) but not black race/ethnicity, irrespective of demographic and clinical factors. Complex race-specific associations were observed between EBV-positive HL and age, sex, histology, stage, neighborhood socioeconomic status (SES), and birth place. In Hispanics, EBV-positive HL was associated not only with young and older age, male sex, and mixed cellularity histology, but also with foreign birth and lower SES in females, suggesting immune function responses to correlates of early childhood experience and later environmental exposures, respectively, as well as of pregnancy. For APIs, a lack of association with birth place may reflect the higher SES of API than Hispanic immigrants. In blacks, EBV-positive HL was associated with later-stage disease, consistent with racial/ethnic variation in certain cytokine polymorphisms. The racial/ethnic variation in our findings suggests that EBV-positive HL results from an intricate interplay of early- and later-life environmental, hormonal, and genetic factors leading to depressed immune function and poorly controlled EBV infection.
doi:10.1002/ijc.23741
PMCID: PMC2775059  PMID: 18646185
Hodgkin lymphoma; Epstein-Barr virus; racial/ethnic variation; epidemiology
3.  Development of the vertebral morphogenetic field in the mouse: interactions between Crossveinless-2 and Twisted gastrulation 
Developmental biology  2008;323(1):6-18.
Crossveinless-2 (Cv2), Twisted Gastrulation (Tsg) and Chordin (Chd) are components of an extracellular biochemical pathway that regulates Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP) activity during dorso-ventral patterning of Drosophila and Xenopus embryos, the formation of the fly wing, and mouse skeletogenesis. Because the nature of their genetic interactions remained untested in the mouse, we generated a null allele for Cv2 which was crossed to Tsg and Chd mutants to obtain Cv2;Tsg and Cv2;Chd compound mutants. We found that Cv2 is essential for skeletogenesis as its mutation caused the loss of multiple bone structures and posterior homeotic transformation of the last thoracic vertebra. During early vertebral development, Smad1 phosphorylation in the intervertebral region was decreased in the Cv2 mutant, even though CV2 protein is normally located in the future vertebral bodies. Because Cv2 mutation affects BMP signaling at a distance, this suggested that CV2 is involved in the localization of the BMP morphogenetic signal. Cv2 and Chd mutations did not interact significantly. However, mutation of Tsg was epistatic to all CV2 phenotypes. We propose a model in which CV2 and Tsg participate in the generation of a BMP signaling morphogenetic field during vertebral formation in which CV2 serves to concentrate diffusible Tsg/BMP4 complexes in the vertebral body cartilage.
doi:10.1016/j.ydbio.2008.08.019
PMCID: PMC2647368  PMID: 18789316
BMP; Crossveinless-2; Chordin; Twisted Gastrulation; Tolloid; vertebra; morphogenetic field; cartilage; pattern formation
4.  Serum YKL-40 and IL-6 Levels in Hodgkin Lymphoma 
Purpose
Serum levels of the inflammatory markers YKL-40 and IL-6 are increased in many conditions, including cancers. We examined serum YKL-40 and IL-6 levels in patients with Hodgkin lymphoma (HL), a tumor with strong immunologic reaction to relatively few tumor cells, especially in nodular sclerosis HL.
Experimental Design
We analyzed Danish and Swedish patients with incident HL (N=470) and population controls from Denmark (N= 245 for YKL-40; N= 348 for IL-6). Serum YKL-40 and IL-6 levels were determined by ELISA, and log-transformed data were analysed by linear regression, adjusting for age and sex.
Results
Serum levels of YKL-40 and IL-6 were increased in HL patients compared to controls (YKL-40: 3.6-fold, IL-6: 8.3-fold; both p<0.0001). In samples from pre-treatment HL patients (N=176), levels were correlated with more advanced stages (ptrend 0.0001 for YKL-40 and 0.013 for IL-6) and in those with B symptoms, but levels were similar in nodular sclerosis and mixed cellularity subtypes, by EBV status, and in younger (<45 years old) and older patients. Patients tested soon after treatment onset had significantly lower levels than pre-treatment patients, but even >6 months after treatment onset, serum YKL-40 and IL-6 levels remained significantly increased, compared to controls. In patients who died (N=12), pre-treatment levels for both YKL-40 and IL-6 were higher than in survivors, although not statistically significantly.
Conclusions
Serum YKL-40 and IL-6 levels were increased in untreated HL patients and those with more advanced stages but did not differ significantly by HL histology. Following treatment, serum levels were significantly lower.
doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-08-1026
PMCID: PMC2613488  PMID: 18980992
5.  Incomplete pregnancy is not associated with breast cancer risk: the California Teachers Study 
Contraception  2008;77(6):391-396.
Background
Early studies of incomplete pregnancy and development of breast cancer suggested that induced abortion might increase risk. Several large prospective studies, which eliminate recall bias, did not detect associations but this relationship continues to be debated.
Study design
To further inform this important question, we examined invasive breast cancer as it relates to incomplete pregnancy, including total number of induced abortions, age at first induced abortion and total number of miscarriages among women participating in the ongoing California Teachers Study (CTS) cohort. Incomplete pregnancy was self-reported on the CTS baseline questionnaire in 1995–96. Incident breast cancers were ascertained in 3,324 women through 2004 via linkage with the California Cancer Registry.
Results
Using Cox multivariable regression, we found no statistically significant association between any measure of incomplete pregnancy and breast cancer risk among nulliparous or parous women.
Conclusion
These results provide strong evidence that there is no relationship between incomplete pregnancy and breast cancer risk.
doi:10.1016/j.contraception.2008.02.004
PMCID: PMC2473863  PMID: 18477486
breast cancer; incomplete pregnancy
6.  Dietary patterns and risk of ovarian cancer in the California Teachers Study cohort 
Nutrition and cancer  2008;60(3):285-291.
Previous studies have examined the association between individual foods or nutrients, but not overall diet, and ovarian cancer risk. To account for the clustering of foods in the diet, we investigated the association between dietary patterns and risk of ovarian cancer in the prospective California Teachers Study cohort. Of 97,292 eligible women who completed the baseline dietary assessment in 1995–1996, 311 women developed epithelial ovarian cancer on or before December 31, 2004. Based on principal components analysis, five major dietary patterns were identified and termed “plant-based,” “high-protein/high-fat,” “high-carbohydrate,” “ethnic,” and “salad-and-wine.” Multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression analysis was used to estimate associations between these dietary patterns and risk of incident ovarian cancer. Most of the dietary patterns were not significantly associated with ovarian cancer risk. However, women who followed a plant-based diet had higher risk; comparing those in the top quintile of plant-based food intake with those in the lowest quintile, the relative risk of ovarian cancer was 1.65 (95% confidence interval: 1.07–2.54; Ptrend=0.03). Associations with the five dietary patterns did not vary by known ovarian cancer risk factors or other behavioral or sociodemographic characteristics. Overall, our results show no convincing associations between dietary patterns and ovarian cancer risk.
doi:10.1080/01635580701733091
PMCID: PMC2365491  PMID: 18444162

Results 1-6 (6)