Environmental factors in relation to breast cancer characterized by p53 protein expression.
Findings from studies of cigarette smoking and low-dose ionizing radiation exposure and breast cancer are unclear. Laboratory studies indicate that both exposures can cause DNA damage, potentially increasing cancer risk if such mutations occur in growth control genes, such as p53. We examined the potential etiologic heterogeneity of breast cancer by evaluating whether associations between cigarette smoking and low-dose ionizing radiation and breast cancer differed by p53 protein expression status. Data were obtained from the Carolina Breast Cancer Study, a population-based, case-control study conducted among African-American and white women ages 20-74 years. Questionnaire data were available from 861 women with incident, primary invasive breast cancer and 790 community-based controls. p53 immunostaining was performed on tissue from 683 women with breast cancer; 46% were classified as p53+. Two separate unconditional logistic regression models were used to calculate odds ratios (ORs) for p53+ and p53- breast cancer, as compared with controls, in relation to smoking and low-dose ionizing radiation exposure. Smoking was not differentially associated with p53+ or p53- breast cancer, even when duration, dose, and passive smoking status were considered. Exposure to individual sources of radiation did not differ for p53+ and p53- breast cancers. However, ORs for combined exposure to chest X-rays and occupational radiation were higher for p53+ [OR, 2.2; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.0-5.3] than p53- breast cancer (OR, 1.2; 95% CI, 0.5-3.4). Combined exposure to radiation from other medical sources as well as occupational exposure was also higher for p53+ (OR, 3.7; 95% CI, 0.8-16.8) than for p53- breast cancer (OR, 1.7; 95% CI, 0.3-10.5). Although preliminary, our results suggest that exposure to multiple sources of low-dose ionizing radiation may contribute to the development of p53+ breast cancer.
Furberg, H; Millikan, RC; Geradts, J; Gammon, MD; Dressler, LG; Ambrosone, CB; Newman, B
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