Publications from the current and previous year are listed below; articles are listed chronologically within each year from the most to the least recent.
Most research articles have brief description below and a link to the published abstract (a detailed summary) through the US. National Library of Medicine.
For prior years, click on the following links:
(articles listed from most to least recent)
Last Updated: March 29, 2021
Hu C, Hart SN, Gnanaolivu R, ..., Palmer JR, ..., Rosenberg L, et al. A population-based study of genes previously implicated in breast cancer. N Engl J Med 2021;384(5):440-51. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2005936.
Using data from the Cancer Risk Estimates Related to Susceptibility (CARRIERS) consortium of many breast cancer studies, risks associated with pathogenic variants in known breast cancer-predisposition genes were estimated. Testing for these variants can inform cancer screening and improve clinical strategies. link to online article
Cozier YC, Barbhaiya M, Castro-Webb N, Costenbader KH, Rosenberg L. A prospective study of reproductive factors in relation to risk of systemic lupus erythematosus among black women. Lupus 2021;30(2):204-10. doi: 10.1177/0961203320973074. PMCID: PMC7854483.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks its own tissues, causing inflammation and tissue damage. It occurs most commonly among women of reproductive age. Using data from the BWHS, we assessed the relationships of reproductive factors to SLE risk. Later age at menarche and longer duration of breastfeeding were both associated with increased risk of SLE. These findings require confirmation in other studies of Black women. link to online article
Benefield HC, Zirpoli GR, Allott EH, Shan Y, Hurson AN, Omilian AR, Khoury T, Hong CC, Olshan AF, Bethea TN, Bandera EV, Palmer JR, Ambrosone CB, Troester MA. Epidemiology of basal-like breast cancer among black women in the AMBER consortium. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2021;30(1):71-9. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-0556.
There are different ways of classifying breast cancers, one of which is the so-called six-marker IHC (ImmunoHistoChemistry) classification. One reason to classify breast cancers is that different types may have different causes, and analyzing risk factors for the different classifications can reveal this. In data from the AMBER consortium, a group of studies that includes the BWHS, breast cancer subtypes had distinct etiologic profiles; that is, different risk factors were associated with different types. In case-control analyses, increased body mass index and waist-to-hip ratio were associated with increased risk of luminal A subtype, while older age at menarche and parity (childbirth) were associated with a reduced risk. For basal-like cancers, parity without breastfeeding and increased waist-to-hip ratio were associated with increased risk, while breastfeeding was associated with reduced risk. link to online article
Zavala VA, Bracci PM, Carethers JM, Carvajal-Carmona L, ..., Palmer JR, et al. Cancer health disparities in racial/ethnic minorities in the USA. Br J Cancer 2021;124(2):315-32. doi: 10.1038/s41416-020-01038-6.
Several well-established disparities in cancer incidence and outcomes according to race and ethnicity are reviewed. Although substantial progress has been made in understanding underlying factors, inequities persist. More effort needs to be made to increase diversity in cancer research. Structural racism and barriers to healthcare access need to be eliminated in order to eliminate disparities. link to online article
Warner ET, Zhang Y, Gu Y, Taporoski TP, Pereira A, DeVivo I, Spence ND, Cozier YC, Palmer JR, Kanaya AM, Kandula NR, Cole SA, Tworoger S, Shields A. Physical and sexual abuse in childhood and adolescence and leukocyte telomere length: a pooled analysis of the study on psychosocial stress, spirituality, and health. PLoS ONE 2020;15(10):e0241363. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0241363. PMCID: PMC7598522.
Telomeres are lengths of nucleotides that protect the ends of chromosomes. Telomeres shorten with age and experience of trauma has been associated with telomere shortening. Childhood and/or adolescent experiences of abuse in relation to telomere length were assessed in data from five cohort studies, including the BWHS. Sexual abuse in childhood or adolescence, but not physical abuse, was associated with decreased telomere length. There was no evidence of religion or spirituality modifying the association. link to online article
Nichols HB, Graff M, Bensen JT, Lunetta KL, O'Brien KM, Troester MA, Williams LA, Young K, Hong CC, Yao S, Haiman CA, Ruiz-Narváez EA, Ambrosone CB, Palmer JR, Olshan AF. Genetic variants in anti-Müllerian hormone-related genes and breast cancer risk: results from the AMBER consortium. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2020;185(2):469-78. doi: 10.1007/s10549-020-05944-4. PMCID: PMC7867570.
Circulating anti- Müllerian hormone (AMH) levels are positively associated with time to menopause and breast cancer risk. Using data from the AMBER consortium, a group of studies that includes the BWHS, we examined breast cancer associations with single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the AMH gene or its receptor genes, among Black women. There were some associations but none were statistically significant. The results require replication in other studies. link to online article
Sheehy S, Palmer JR, Rosenberg L. High consumption of red meat associated with excess mortality among African American women. J Nutr 2020;150(12):3249-58. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxaa282. PMCID: PMC7726124.
Red meat is typically high in saturated fats and carcinogens can be formed during cooking and processing. Using data from the Black Women’s Health Study’s, we assessed the relation of red meat consumption to mortality. Red meat consumption was associated with increased risk of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular mortality, but not with increased cancer mortality. link to online article
Nguyen LH, Drew DA, Graham MS, Joshi AD, Guo CG, ..., the Coronavirus Pandemic Epidemiology Consortium. Risk of COVID-19 among front-line health-care workers and the general community: a prospective cohort study. Lancet Public Health 2020;5(9):e475-83. doi: 10.1016/S2468-2667(20)30164-X. PMCID: PMC7491202.
Risk of COVID-19 among front-line health-care workers is not well understood. Data from the COVID Symptom Study, which includes participants from the United Kingdom and the United States, was used to assess the risk of contracting COVID-19 among front-line health-care works as compared to the general public. More than a thousand BWHS participants have contributed information to the COVID Symptom Study. The risk of testing positive for COVID-19 was increased among health-care workers. These findings suggest that the health-care system should ensure availability of PPE and develop additional strategies to increase health workers’ protection from infection. link to online article
Coogan PF, Schon K, Li S, Cozier YC, Bethea TN, Rosenberg L. Experiences of racism and subjective cognitive function in African American women. Alzheimers Dement (Amst) 2020;12(1):e12067. doi: 10.1002/dad2.12067.
Because psychological stress has been associated with memory decline, we assessed whether experiences of racism were associated with lower cognitive function in the BWHS. Participants reported experiences of racism (daily and institutional) in 1997 and 2005 and completed six questions in 2015 about memory, such as problems in remembering a list. The answers to the six questions were used to derive a measure of subjective cognitive function (SCF). Our analyses indicated that women who reported more experiences of racism had lower SCF scores, suggesting that the stress of racism adversely influences cognitive function. link to online article
Petrick JL, Castro-Webb N, Gerlovin H, Bethea TN, Li S, Ruiz-Narváez EA, Rosenberg L, Palmer JR. A prospective analysis of intake of red and processed meat in relation to pancreatic cancer among African American women. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2020;29(9):1775-83. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-0048. PMCID: PMC7484450.
African Americans experience a higher rate of pancreatic cancer than any other U.S. racial or ethnic group, and there is evidence that eating red or processed meat or other foods containing saturated fats may increase the risk of pancreatic cancer. Using data from the Black Women’s Health Study, we found that diets higher in unprocessed red meat and saturated fat were associated with increased risk of pancreatic cancer in BWHS participants aged 50 and older, but not among younger women. link to online article
Sheehy S, Palmer JR, Rosenberg L. Leisure time physical activity in relation to mortality among African American Women. Am J Prev Med 2020;59(5):704-13. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2020.05.013. PMCID: PMC7577941.
On average, Black women have a life expectancy shorter than that of white women. Physical activity has been found to reduce mortality, but evidence specific to Black women has been limited. We assessed the relation between physical activity and mortality in the Black Women’s Health Study. Walking for exercise as well as vigorous exercise were associated with reductions in mortality from all causes, including cardiovascular disease and cancer. Even an hour or two a week of walking appeared effective in reducing risk. link to online article
Rosenberg L, Robles YP, Li S, Ruiz-Narvaez EA, Palmer JR. A prospective study of yogurt and other dairy consumption in relation to incidence of type 2 diabetes among black women in the U.S. Am J Clin Nutr 2020;112(3):512-8. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqaa143.
Yogurt consumption and low-fat dairy consumption have been associated with reduced incidence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) in some studies, but this possibility has received little study in Black populations. We used information provided by BWHS participants in 1995 and 2001 to assess whether intake was related to incidence of T2D. The results indicated that neither yogurt nor other dairy intake was associated with the risk of T2D. link to online article
Sponholtz TR, Bethea TN, Ruiz-Narvaez EA, Boynton-Jarrett R, Palmer JR, Rosenberg L, Wise LA. Night shift work and fecundability in late reproductive-aged African American women. J Womens Health 2020;30(1):137-44. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2019.8166. PMCID: PMC7826436.
Several studies have reported associations between shift work and menstrual cycle irregularity, miscarriage, and low birth weight. Studies examining shift work and female fertility have had inconsistent results. Black women are more likely to work night shifts than White women, but there are no studies of the association between night shift work and time to pregnancy among Black women who are trying to get pregnant. Using data from the BWHS survey, this study found that a history of working night shifts was associated with reduced ability to become pregnant among older reproductive-aged Black women. link to online article
Bertrand KA, Castro-Webb N, Cozier YC, Li S, O’Brien KM, Rosenberg L, Palmer JR. Gestational diabetes and risk of breast cancer in African American women. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2020;29(7):1509-11. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-0034. PMCID: PMC7334052.
Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) has been hypothesized to increase breast cancer risk, but no studies have examined the association in Black women. Analysis of data from the Black Women’s Health Study to evaluate the association of a history of gestational diabetes with breast cancer risk found no evidence of increased risk. link to online article
Petrick JL, McMenamin UC, Zhang X, ..., Rosenberg L, ..., Palmer JR, et al. Exogenous hormone use, reproductive factors and risk of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma among women: results from the Liver Cancer Pooling Project and UK Biobank. Br J Cancer 2020;123(2):316-24. doi: 10.1038/s41416-020-0835-5. PMCID: PMC7374167.
Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC) is the second most common type of liver cancer. The associations between hormone use and reproductive factors and the risk of ICC has not been well studied. Using data from twelve different cohorts, including the BWHS, this study found that hysterectomy and long-term oral contraceptive use may be associated with increased risk of ICC. Further study of this association is needed to confirm the finding. link to online article
Dash C, Yu J, Nomura S, Rosenberg L, Palmer JR, Adams-Campbell LL. Obesity is an initiator of colon adenomas but not a promoter of colorectal cancer in the Black Women's Health Study. Cancer Causes Control 2020;31(4):291-302. doi: 10.1007/s10552-020-01283-3.
In an examination of anthropometric factors (body mass index, waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio) in relation to risk of colorectal adenoma (noncancerous growths in the colon) and colorectal cancer in the BWHS, we found no association of these factors with risk of colorectal cancer. Among women 50 and older higher body mass index, waist circumference, and waist-to-hip ratio were associated with an increase in risk of adenomas. Other studies have found high body mass index and other measures of body mass to be associated with colon cancer in men, but an association in women seems to be weaker or absent. link to online article
Palmer JR, Polley EC, Hu C, ..., Bertrand KA, Bethea TN, et al. Contribution of germline predisposition gene mutations to breast cancer risk in African American women. J Natl Cancer Inst 2020;112(12):1213-21. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djaa040. PMCID: PMC7735769.
Using data from ten different epidemiological studies, including the BWHS, this study identified genes associated with a higher risk of breast cancer in Black women. Being able to identify these genes demonstrates the validity of specific genetic testing panels for the use in Black women as well as supporting the idea of increased referral of Black women for cancer genetic testing. link to online article
Cozier YC, Heaton B, Bethea TN, Freudenheim JL, Garcia RI, Rosenberg L. Predictors of self-reported oral health in the Black Women’s Health Study. J Public Health Dent 2020;80(1):70-78. doi: 10.1111/jphd.12351. PMCID: PMC7227786.
Poor oral health is associated with many negative health outcomes and it is well documented that Black Americans in the US have poorer oral health than their White counterparts. However, gender differences in oral health are less well understood, particularly for Black women, who also have higher rates of many chronic diseases. The BWHS collected and analyzed self-reported oral health information. Analysis shows that poorer oral health among Black women is associated with smoking, diabetes, hypertension, lower education levels, obesity, and higher parity. These findings are consistent with what has been observed in other populations. link to online article
Florio AA, Campbell PT, Zhang X, ..., Rosenberg L, ..., Palmer JR, ..., Petrick JL, et al. Abdominal and gluteofemoral size and risk of liver cancer: the Liver Cancer Pooling Project. Int J Cancer 2020;147(3):675-85. doi: 10.1002/ijc.32760. PMCID: PMC7391795.
Obesity is a known risk factor for primary liver cancer, but it has been unclear whether waist or hip size affects risk. Using data from twelve studies in the Liver Cancer Pooling Project, the association of waist and hip measurements with risk of primary liver cancer was examined Findings suggest that excess weight around the waistline is associated with increased risk of liver cancer, even among individuals with a normal body mass index (BMI), but that excess weight around the hips does not increase risk. link to online article
Bethea TN, Zhou ES, Schernhammer ES, Castro-Webb N, Cozier YC, Rosenberg L. Perceived racial discrimination and risk of insomnia among middle-aged and elderly Black women. Sleep 2020;43(1):zsz208. doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsz208. PMCID: PMC6955644.
Insomnia, chronic difficulty falling or staying asleep, is associated with risk of physical and mental health disorders. Many studies have found that Black Americans are at higher risk for developing sleep problems. Some studies have found that chronic stress due to experience of racism is associated with sleep problems. Within the BWHS, data on everyday and lifetime racism and insomnia symptoms were collected, and higher levels of perceived racism were associated with an increased risk of insomnia among middle-aged and elderly Black women. link to online article