The EMeRGe cancer epidemiology research team are involved in many ongoing molecular epidemiology studies.
The BREAST-PREDICT research will use molecular epidemiology to uncover the genetic characteristics of women with breast cancer who may or may not benefit, in terms of improved survival, from taking common medicines such as aspirin.
Studies in collaboration with investigators from the National Cancer Institute, USA are working to understand the molecular determinants of mammographic breast density among women undergoing diagnostic breast biopsies, using resources within the Breast Radiology Evaluation and Study of Tissues (BREAST) BREAST-STAMP projectVisit website to learn more –
Molecular epidemiology aims to understand the molecular mechanisms driving cancer development. Studies of molecular epidemiology aim to understand the causes of cancer at the molecular level. It recognizes the impact of molecular factors on cancer development and progression. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) summarises molecular epidemiology as the ‘axis that unites insights at the molecular level and understanding of disease at the population level. It is also a partnership between epidemiologists and laboratory scientists in which investigations are conducted using the key principles of both disciplines’ (REF: Molecular Epidemiology: Principles and Practices, 2011, International Agency for Research on Cancer).
Mammographic breast density
The EMeRGe cancer epidemiology research team are undertaking studies to understand the role of mammographic breast density in breast cancer development. This project forms part of a Health Research Board Emerging Investigator Award.
Mammographic breast density is the white breast tissue seen radiologically on a breast mammogram. Prior studies have shown that it is a strong risk factor for breast cancer development. These prior studies have led to increased discussions about its utility as a marker to determine a woman’s breast cancer risk in breast cancer screening programmes. These studies have also led to increased discussions about the communication of mammographic breast density information to women undergoing mammography screening.
There are many questions remaining relating to the role of mammographic breast density in a clinical environment. More research is needed to examine the best approaches for mammographic breast density measurement.
EMeRGe is working in partnership with investigators from the International Agency for Research on Cancer to address these questions.
Further, more research is needed to elucidate its role in breast cancer, particularly in Ireland, where breast density has yet to be examined at the population level, prior to the development of any future breast density related policies.
These ongoing investigations which are being conducted with international and national collaborators will build evidence, expand upon existing knowledge and provide important insights into the influence of mammographic breast density on clinical outcomes.
The Irish Cancer Society’s first collaborative cancer research centre, BREAST-PREDICT (Oct 2013-Sept 2019). BREAST-PREDICT took an integrative approach to breast cancer research, across disciplines to address a number of research questions to improve the treatment and prognosis for women with breast cancer.
The research group worked on Work package 2. Molecular epidemiology: Uncovering pathways from population drug exposures, comorbidities and lifestyle factors to breast cancer outcomes, which involves a prospective study of breast cancer patients enrolled through the Clinical Trials Ireland network, St James’s Hospital and Galway University Hospital. Here we aim to utilise the data collected through surveys, registries and bioresources available to examine the effects of pre-diagnosis aspirin and statin exposure on breast cancer outcome.
Colossus Explainer Video
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in Europe. COLOSSUS is an EU-funded H2020 project that aims to provide new and more effective ways to classify patients with a specific type of colorectal cancer (microsatellite stable RAS mutant metastatic colorectal cancer or MSS RAS mt mCRC) and to develop better treatments for them. Our ultimate goal is to deliver a personalised medicine approach for patients with MSS RAS mt mCRC that is currently not available.Visit the website