Palmer, J.R., Wise, L.A., Horton, N.J., Adams-Campbell, L.L. and Rosenberg, L. (2003) Dual Effect of Parity on Breast Cancer Risk in African-American Women. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 95, 478-483.
ABSTRACT: Background: Breast cancer remains intractable and the leading cause of cancer related death among women. The appearance of breast tumour and its progression poses great clinical unpredictability before and after diagnosis, therapy and appearance of recurrent secondary deposits. Various immunological changes occur during breast tumourigenesis, and can be of value in the surveillance of the diseases. In our environment, there is scanty information on the value of these immunological factors especially immunoglobulins in screening and surveillance of breast cancer—hence the need for this study. Methodology: A total of 59 females (mean age = 48.7 ± 8.7 yrs) with clinically and pathologically confirmed breast cancer were prospectively recruited alongside with 20 patients with benign breast tumour representing patients’ control group and 20 apparently healthy age and sex-matched control subjects (mean age = 47.5 ± 13.4 yrs). Breast cancer patients were further grouped into early stage breast cancer (N = 25) and advanced stage breast cancer (N = 34). Patients were subjected to standard treatment modalities and pre- and post-treatment samples collected at intervals. Samples were assayed for IgG & IgM by immunoenzymatic methods and IgA by immunoturbidimetric method. Questionnaires and measurements were used to obtain necessary demographic and anthropologic information from the subjects. Results: Results showed that in all stages of breast cancer and treatment groups, the mean serum IgG, IgM and IgA levels respectively were not significantly raised (P > 0.05) when compared. Results also showed that majority (59%) of the patients presented at advanced stage of the disease. Low level of education and low income were among the prevailing risk factors. Majority (63%) of the cases had body mass index suggesting obesity (>30 kg/m2). Conclusion: Results suggest that serum immunoglobulin (IgG, IgM and IgA) levels are of limited value in surveillance of breast cancer in our environment. Based on our findings, it could also be concluded that low levels of education and low income are among the risk factors. Advocacy and evidence based policies aimed at prevention and early detection of the disease should be prioritized.