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Secondhand smoke, past smoking, diet, novel biomarkers and breast cancer metastasis.

Institution: San Diego State University Research Foundation
Investigator(s): Tianying Wu,
Award Cycle: 2019 (Cycle 30) Grant #: T30IP0998 Award: $602,000
Subject Area: Cancer
Award Type: High Impact Pilot Award

Initial Award Abstract
Tobacco smoke residue, which contains toxic chemicals and carcinogens, can pollute homes, apartments, and public places long after smoking has ceased. Exposure to such residue is called secondhand smoke (SHS). Women with breast cancer are more susceptible to environmental damages, and those with low incomes are at high risk of living in homes or apartments polluted with tobacco residue. Thus, breast cancer women should be concerned about whether they have been exposed to SHS and, if so, what they should do to minimize the damages caused by SHS. Approximately 30%-40% of breast cancer survivors are former smokers, who have increased risk of breast cancer recurrence and mortality. These breast cancer survivors with past smoking history worry about their risk of recurrence. The proposed research will directly address these concerns. We will study the joint impacts of SHS, past smoking, dietary patterns, and endogenous biological damages on invasive breast cancer recurrence and total mortality among breast cancer survivors. We plan to use an existing cohort that enrolls women with early-stage breast cancer and has stored blood samples. Thus, this cohort will enable us to assess accurate and longitudinal dietary intakes, SHS, and past smoking history. We will assess SHS by measuring plasma cotinine. Longitudinal data are better than snap-shot data because the former can identify causes. Another strength of our study is that we will assess smoking in conjunction with several dietary factors and biomarkers, thereby better assessing joint impacts at a multiplicative scale than studying any one factor alone.

As California has the highest poverty rate (20%) in the nation, residents have a greater chance of living in low-income housing units polluted with tobacco. Our study will aid in setting up risk levels of SHS for breast cancer women and will help influence policy to screen breast cancer women in California who may be susceptible to SHS. Studying healthy and unhealthy dietary patterns, biomarkers, and SHS/past smoking in women with breast cancer will help provide innovative patient care strategies for prognosis risk prediction and help make specific dietary recommendations.