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Approved Research

Air pollution, greenness and their interplay with DNA repair genes in relation to breast cancer

Principal Investigator: Mrs Carmen Smotherman
Approved Research ID: 67356
Approval date: November 25th 2020

Lay summary

In this study, we aim to explore associations in adult women between exposure to air pollution and greenness and breast cancer risk. In addition, we will explore if the variation in genes responsible for the DNA repair affect these associations. Breast cancer remains the most common cancer among women worldwide and in the United States. Known risk factors for breast cancer, however, explain only about 50% of variation in breast cancer risk. Among potential environmental risk factors for breast cancer, air pollution has been getting attention recently as possible contributor to breast cancer, though the overall evidence remains inconsistent. On the other hand, exposure to green environments can reduce adverse environmental exposures such as air pollution, noise, and extreme heat, as well as promote physical activity and reduce stress, all of which could influence health outcomes including cancer. However, only three studies examined associations of greenness with breast cancer. Finally, none of the previous studies on air pollution and BCa included variations in the genes responsible for DNA damage repair.

We anticipate completing the project in up to 3 years after the approval. Due to a large proportion of women living in the areas with unfavorable air quality, our results could generate new approaches for incorporating air pollution into breast cancer risk assessment or tailored active surveillance or prevention strategies in women with high exposure level.