Dr. Arcaro's recent research has focused on breast cancer risk :
Using Breast Milk to Screen for Breast
Cancer and Assess Breast Cancer Risk : The purpose of this study is to determine if breast cancer and breast cancer risk can be
accurately assessed from a breast milk sample. Currently, there is no accurate way to give women information about their personal risk of
developing breast cancer. We will use the cells naturally present in breast milk to examine changes in DNA that occur in association with
benign and cancerous breast lesions. Learning about the genetic changes associated with both breast cancer and non-cancerous breast
lesions will help us develop a way to provide women with information about their breast cancer risk. Using breast milk to screen for
breast cancer will reduce unnecessary biopsies among nursing women.
Breast Milk and Breast Milk Cells: Biomarkers of Exposure, Effect and Genetic Susceptibility to Breast Cancer : Breast milk is an ideal human fluid for studying the relationship between exposure to pollutants and breast cancer risk because it contains lipophilic compounds implicated in the etiology of breast cancer and exfoliated breast epithelial cells. We have ongoing studies in which we are analyzing the relationship between pollutants in milk and levels of DNA damage, changes in gene expression and promoter hypermethylation in the exfoliated breast epithelial cells.
Signaling Pathways in Estrogen Receptor-Negative Breast Cancer : Estrogen receptor tumor status is an important clinical characteristic of breast cancer, which correlates with patients’ prognoses, response to hormone therapy, and overall survival. Tamoxifen, a landmark drug that acts as an anti-estrogen in the therapy of hormone-dependent breast cancers, reduces disease recurrence in patients with estrogen receptor-positive tumors, but is ineffective against estrogen receptor-negative tumors. Additionally, some tumors do not respond to tamoxifen treatment despite estrogen receptor-positive status, and some tumors that initially respond to tamoxifen eventually acquire tamoxifen-resistance resulting in a more aggressive tumor with poorer prognoses. Using a recently derived, tamoxifen-selected, estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer cell line, we have identified several genes that are differentially regulated in breast cancer. One gene, mitogen-inducible gene 2 (MIG2) is the subject of a recent publication.