Title: Integrating Geographic Information Systems (GIS) into Breast Cancer Epidemiologic Research
Principal Investigator: Daikwon Han, PhD
Funding Agency: U.S. Army MRMC
Period: 02/01/03 - 02/28/06
Abstract: Environmental risk factors are of continuing interest in breast carcinogenesis. Environmental factors may explain variation in breast cancer rates not explained by the known risk factors. Although previous studies on the role of environmental risk factors on breast cancer are inconclusive, several environmental compounds such as PAHs and benzene are suspected to be involved in breast cancer. We propose and develop a new perspective in breast cancer research to examine relationship between lifetime environmental exposures and breast cancer risk. Approaches focusing on current residential environment are limited in that there may be sensitive time periods for exposures and/or that there may be cumulative effects of lifetime exposure involved in breast cancer incidence.
The purpose of the proposed study is an integration of GIS and a spatio-temporal perspective into breast cancer research of the relationship between environmental exposures and breast cancer risk. With the increased use of GIS in epidemiologic studies, it becomes possible to examine lifetime exposures to environmental risk factors by integrating lifetime exposure information in GIS with other breast cancer epidemiologic factors. Specific aims of the proposed study include, 1) continuing evaluation on the role of environmental risk factors on breast cancer; we will develop a GIS-based model of lifetime residential history and environmental exposure in breast cancer. 2) assessment of historical exposures to PAHs and benzene and breast cancer risk; we will reconstruct historical exposure to PAH and benzene for the use in environmental epidemiology of breast cancer and empirically assess exposure to these two environmental compounds based on lifetime exposure index.
Using lifetime residential information for breast cancer cases and controls in western New York, the proposed study examines breast cancer risk from lifetime exposures. Lifetime residential histories have been collected for the breast cancer cases and controls by interview, while information on environmental contaminants is being collected from historical sources. We will use GIS in our assessment of the associations of environmental risk factors and breast cancer incidence. Further spatial-statistical analysis will be performed in a GIS environment to examine associations between residential environment and breast cancer risk in spatial and temporal dimensions. The benefits of the proposed study are, 1) to provide rigorous assessment of the role of environmental risk factors on breast cancer research, by examining exposures from lifetime residence history and breast cancer risk and combining them using the most sophisticated GIS methodology. 2) to investigate a possible role of PAHs and benzene exposure throughout lifetime in relation to adult breast cancer risk, which may be insightful in the continuing battle of breast cancer and prevention.