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Authors Pilie PG, Ibarra-Drendall C, Troch MM, Broadwater G, Barry WT, Petricoin EF, Wulfkuhle JD, Liotta LA, Lem S, Baker JC, Stouder A, Ford AC, Wilke LG, Zalles CM, Mehta P, Williams J, Shivraj M, Su Z, Geradts J, Yu D, Seewaldt VL
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Journal Cancer Epidemiol. Biomarkers Prev. Volume: 20 Issue: 3 Pages: 476-82
Publish Date 2011 Mar
PubMed ID 21242333
PMC ID 3051011

Obesity is a well-established risk factor for cancer, accounting for up to 20% of cancer deaths in women. Studies of women with breast cancer have shown obesity to be associated with an increased risk of dying from breast cancer and increased risk of developing distant metastasis. While previous studies have focused on differences in circulating hormone levels as a cause for increased breast cancer incidence in postmenopausal women, few studies have focused on potential differences in the protein expression patterns of mammary epithelial cells obtained from obese versus nonobese women.Protein expression was assessed by reverse-phase protein microarray in mammary epithelial cells from 31 random periareolar fine needle aspirations performed on 26 high-risk women.In this pilot and exploratory study, vimentin (unadjusted P=0.028) expression was significantly different between obese and nonobese women.Vimentin is integral both to adipocyte structure and function and to the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition needed for cancer cell metastasis. Further research is needed to confirm this finding and determine the possible effects of the adipocyte microenvironment on the initiation and progression of breast cancer in high-risk women.Differential protein expression patterns obtained from a future expanded study may serve to elaborate the underlying pathology of breast cancer initiation and progression in obese women and identify potential biomarkers of response to preventative interventions such as dietary changes and exercise.

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