Researchers from the Public Health Sciences Division have launched a first-ever population-based epidemiological study of breast cancer in several areas of the former Soviet Union that were contaminated by radiation from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident in 1986.
Dr. Scott Davis leads the five-year, $4 million project, along with Hutchinson Center co-investigators Drs. Ken Kopecky, Peggy Porter, Kathi Malone, Chris Li, Li Hsu and Ben Anderson. The population-based case-control study will examine the effects of radiation exposure on premenopausal breast-cancer risk and whether such risk differs according to the breast-cancer characteristics, including hormone receptor status and alterations in selected DNA repair genes. The study will also evaluate clinical outcome and survival, particularly in relation to molecular characteristics. The work is conducted with data coordination and field support from three teams in Russia.
A team of investigators led by Davis has been studying the aftermath of Chernobyl since 1990, particularly in the Bryansk region of Russia. They have successfully established methods and procedures to identify, locate, enroll and examine relatively large numbers of people exposed to Chernobyl radiation, to estimate radiation doses they may have received, and to engage in molecular characterization of specific tumor types of interest.
The National Cancer Institute funded the study.