MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are global RNA regulators and important master controllers of the cell survival and proliferation pathways that are critically important in cancer development and tumor maintenance. Recent evidence from our group and others show that miRNA expression patterns in tumors are important biomarkers of outcome and treatment response, and furthermore, that miRNA binding site polymorphisms in the 3’ untranslated regions (3’UTRs) of mRNAs can strongly impact cancer risk. We hypothesize that advances in miRNA understanding can be applied to breast cancer.
The overall goal of this proposal is to study miRNA 3’UTR polymorphisms as initiating events in breast cancer, and to define the predictive role of miRNA expression patterns to identify biomarkers of response to therapy and outcome. We will ultimately test our findings that 3’UTR polymorphisms and misregulated miRNAs are key in breast cancer development using in vivo xenograft and transgenic mouse models.
This study at Yale University in New Haven, CT, is investigating the effects of hormone replacement therapy and other types of estrogen exposure on a marker of breast cancer risk the research team has identified. The researchers originally wanted to enroll up to 1,500 volunteers. The Call to Action for this study was sent to Army of Women members on April 17, 2013. After the Army of Women members began responding in high numbers to the Call to Action, the research team decided to keep the study open and recruit as many women as possible in a one-month period. Doing so will allow the team to study a wide variety of survivors, including pre- and post-menopausal women and women with different stages and grades of breast cancer. When the study closed on May 22, 2013, the Army of Women had provided the team with more than 2,460 women who were interested in enrolling in the study.