Gene Polymorphisms in Relation to Cancer and Other Illnesses

Gene PolymorphismsThe primary purpose of the study is to collect and store cheek cell samples from as many Black Women’s Health Study (BWHS) participants as possible. The cheek cell samples will provide a source of DNA for studies of gene-environment interactions in relation to cancer and other serious illnesses. Such studies, which combine genetic information with standard epidemiologic data on reproductive factors, medication use, and other exposures, have the potential to advance our understanding of the etiology of cancer and other illnesses. After extensive piloting of the methods, we began the full-scale data collection effort in January of 2004. Over a period of four years, each BWHS participant will be sent an explanatory letter, informed consent, and mouthwash kit. It is anticipated that over 65% of participants will choose to participate and will send a saliva sample in mouthwash to the laboratory of Dr. Charles Rotimi at the National Human Genome Center of Howard University. There the samples will be processed and stored in freezers. After four years of data collection, there will be a sufficient number of stored samples in women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer to permit a nested case-control study of breast cancer risk in relation to several genes involved in estrogen metabolism. Because the saliva samples will be used for research only and because the genetic tests to be performed in this study are not suitable for use as clinical tests for medical care, no individual results will be available to the participants. Strict procedures for confidentiality will be followed. All samples that are sent to Howard University will be identified by a code number only. Information obtained from the samples will not be linked to the names or other personal identifiers of the participants.


Julie R. Palmer, Sc.D., Principal Investigator
Slone Epidemiology Center

Lynn Rosenberg, Sc.D., Co-Investigator
Slone Epidemiology Center

Charles N. Rotimi, Ph.D., Co-Investigator
Howard University
National Human Genome Center

Study Staff:

Yvette Cozier, D.Sc., Epidemiologist and Project Director
Thuy Lam, Research Coordinator
Patricia Simmons, Study Supervisor
Ayo Doumatey, Laboratory Director

Source of Funding:

National Cancer Institute

Study Period:

2003 to 2010