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Biology of the breast cell

Understanding the basic science of breast cancer and its causes.

Although basic science research in cancer is well-supported by other agencies, there remains a critical need to understand the pre-neoplastic, causative events of breast cancer at the tissue level, including the stroma. The genetic changes in disease progression and the tumor heterogeneity need clarification at the basic science level. Research into the mechanisms behind variances in tumor biology presenting in different populations is especially encouraged 

Specific topics include:

Biology of the normal breast: The starting point — Research should explore aspects of normal breast biology (e.g., aging) that are linked to the earliest stages of breast cancer, and which could provide insights into new approaches to prevent, detect, or treat the disease. This could include an examination of the impact of menarche, menopause, oral contraceptives, postmenopausal estrogens, and irregular hormonal cycling on changes in breast tissue and breast cells specifically. Studies investigating biological mechanisms that will help to understand and address breast cancer disparities are encouraged.

Pathogenesis: Understanding the disease — Research must specifically focus on breast cancer tumor and stromal biology, including: (1) studies of relevant proteins and genes with an emphasis on their relationship to the actual disease, and (2) elucidating key cell signaling, growth control, cell cycle, and apoptosis pathways. We especially encourage new research on the process of metastasis and the development of tools and models to better understand the key metastatic events that impact patient survival. Further, research is needed on the endogenous or exogenous triggers or protective factors for recurrent disease, particularly aspects of disease that if addressed, could contribute to the reduction or elimination of disparities apparent in distinct communities.